Drink-driver climbed into back of his van and went to sleep as his friend lay dying after crashing into tree

A drink-driver who crashed his van into a tree left his friend for dead and climbed into the back of his van and went to sleep rather than calling for help.

Paul Nigel Bennett of Teal Garth, Bridlington was sentenced at York Crown Court to eight years and seven months in prison

Paul Nigel Bennett of Teal Garth, Bridlington, was jailed for eight years and seven months on September 28 after admitting causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink.

He had been socialising with his friend, 49-year-old Simon Maving, in Malton on September 15 last year when he made the decision to drive them both back to Bridlington despite having consumed large amounts of alcohol.

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Near the village of North Grimston, the Renault van Bennett was driving, with Mr Maving as his passenger, crashed into a tree. Mr Maving was left with serious injuries following the crash but instead of calling for him, Bennett climbed into the back of the van and went to sleep.

The van was discovered the next morning and when the emergency services arrived, Mr Maving was pronounced dead.

Bennett was taken to hospital for treatment to the injuries he had sustained in the crash, and a blood sample was taken. The test confirmed a reading of 268 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 mililitres of blood – more than three times the legal drink drive limit.

North Yorkshire Police Inspector Mick Roffe, head of roads policing at North Yorkshire Police said: “The consequences of Bennett’s actions cannot be underestimated. His decision to get behind the wheel of his van and drive that night resulted in the tragic loss of Simon Maving’s life, the impact of which will be felt by Simon’s family and friends forever.

“I hope Bennett’s sentence sends a strong and clear message to anyone thinking about getting behind the wheel after drinking. Doing so is a selfish and thoughtless act which carries severe and lasting consequences.”

T/Sergeant Adam Elliott from North Yorkshire Police’s major collision investigation team added: “Bennett’s total disregard for the safety of his friend and other road users is inexcusable but the fact that following the collision he simply went to sleep instead of calling for help is even more despicable.

“The judge in court commented that Bennett’s driving record of several previous convictions for drink driving offences showed ‘an air of inevitability’ and that he had failed to learn from his past actions which should be a warning to other repeat offenders.

“Bennett’s sentence reflects the severity of his actions and I hope will bring some small comfort to Simon’s family.”