A DRUNK driver who got behind the wheel after consuming 11 pints of lager before a car crash which claimed the lives of his sister and her new partner has been jailed for five years.
Rear-seat passenger Jenny Osborn, 34, who had three children from a previous relationship, and her new partner Stephen Todd, 38, a father-of-five, both died at the scene of the early hours crash in Denton Road, Ilkley, in March.
Jenny’s 38-year-old brother Jason, who had a previous conviction for drink-driving in 1995, was jailed yesterday at Bradford Crown Court.
The court heard how the former coach driver had drunk about 11 pints of lager before getting behind the wheel of his Hyundai Coupe. Osborn, of Midge Close Hall, Ilkley, had been drinking at the Holly Garth club in the town and was later joined there by his sister and Mr Todd.
The group then went on to the Dalesway Hotel for more drinks before leaving the pub at about 1.30am. About two hours later Osborn rang the emergency services from his wrecked car which had left the road and crashed into a tree, the court heard.
Prosecutor Duncan Ritchie said when police found the car the couple appeared to be dead and it was apparent than none of the car’s occupants had been wearing seatbelts.
Osborn had to be freed from the vehicle by the fire service and he was treated in hospital for injuries including a fractured skull, a broken foot and broken ribs.
Earlier this month he pleaded guilty to two charges of causing death by dangerous driving and the court heard yesterday how his speed at the time he lost control of the car on a bend was estimated to be about 69mph.
The speed limit on the road was 40mph and analysis of Osborn’s alcohol intake suggested he was about twice the drink-drive limit.
In her victim personal statement Janine Osborn described the shock and turmoil caused by the death of her daughter and Mr Todd, who worked as a car mechanic in Leeds.
She expressed sympathy for the family of Mr Todd and described the situation as “a nightmare”.
Mr Todd’s father Malcolm said in his victim personal statement that he felt like a part of him had gone forever.
It is understood that the couple, who were described as “soulmates”, had been renovating their new home in Hampshire Close, Ilkley before the tragedy.
Osborn’s barrister Michael Greenhalgh said he felt the loss of his sister very keenly and he was also mindful of the damage caused to Mr Todd’s children and family. He said Osborn very much regretted his decision to drive that night after drinking far too much.
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC said the incident had left eight children without one of their parents and that was a very hard blow for them and all the other family members involved.
The judge said sentencing such cases was always an invidious situation and whatever the court could do it could not put back the clock and return the dead to life.
Osborn was banned from driving for the next 10 years and he must also take an extended driving test before lawfully driving again.
The Yorkshire Post reported warnings from a leading chief constable in November that a dramatic rise in the number of fatal crashes involving alcohol in rural parts of Yorkshire could be due to drivers becoming “desensitised” to awareness campaigns.
Senior officers at North Yorkshire Police fear a recent increase reflects a wider relative increase in the number of drink-driving collisions across the country despite decades of campaigns designed to stop people getting behind the wheel while over the limit.
On Saturday, a man in York was charged with drink driving after being found almost four times the legal limit when pulled over by the police in York.
The man, aged 24, was arrested in Gale Lane in Acomb at around 7.35pm after providing a positive breath test of 130 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.
North Yorkshire Police have now arrested 86 people on suspicion of drink or drug driving as part of a campaign running since the end of November.