Drink driver jailed over death of great-gran
A DRINK-DRIVER who killed a great-grandmother as she crossed the road has been jailed for 10 years.
Hilda Jepson, 88, had campaigned for a crossing in Sutton Road, Huthwaite, where she was killed on May 17.
Hilda Jepson's son Ray Jepson reads out a statement on the steps of Nottingham Crown Court
Lee Pell initially lied about the amount of alcohol he had drunk, claimed the sun had been in his eyes and said Mrs Jepson had jumped out in front of him.
But a breath test showed Pell was twice over the alcohol limit. Cameras confirmed he was speeding and CCTV of the incident showed Mrs Jepson crossed the road from the opposite side to Pell, giving him plenty of time to slow down.
Pell, 24, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink, but Judge John Milmo said he could not give him full credit for his guilty plea because the prosecution case against him would have been so strong.
Mrs Jepson's eldest son, Ray Jepson, read out a victim impact statement in court.
He said: "Your actions have changed so many lives forever.
"Four children, 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, two brothers, one sister, daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, nieces, nephews, family members, close friends and a whole community are struggling to come to terms with your lack of respect for yourself, your family, the laws of this country and your lack of respect for a special lady who had almost crossed the road."
Mrs Jepson's younger sister Irene died a few days after learning of Hilda's death.
"The family question how much the shock of Hilda's death was a contributing factor to Irene's death," said Mr Jepson.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that Pell's Renault Clio continued for 20 metres with Mrs Jepson still on the bonnet. When the car stopped she was thrown on the pavement.
A witness driving in the opposite direction, Alan Ashmore, was so shocked that he challenged Pell at the scene.
A statement from Mr Ashmore, read out in court, said: "I was terrified and shocked at the violence of the incident. I immediately believed that the lady must have been killed as I didn't believe any human could survive such an impact."
Mrs Jepson was pronounced dead at the scene.
A breath test showed Pell had 76mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg. Police also noted that he had glazed eyes and slurred speech.
Cameras show he was driving at an average of 44mph on the 30mph stretch, with a camera before the collision scene indicating 55mph.
The court heard that Pell, of Church Street West Pinxton, had five previous convictions for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
In mitigation, the court heard he was recovering from the suicide of his friend a few days before.
Speaking after the sentencing yesterday, Mrs Jepson's family called for people to support their safety petition and Facebook group in her memory.
He described his mother as a vibrant woman, who had been due to visit Canada for the 21st time when she was killed.
"Two of her children and four of her grandchildren were waiting for her," he said. "Instead, they arrived in England a few days after her death to attend her funeral."
Pell will also be disqualified from driving for 10 years, and will have to take an extended re-test.