A woman has been jailed for nine years for killing a friend when she crashed her car into a tree while drink-driving.
Police say the fatal crash happened when Kate Woodhead, 39, from Longfield Road, Horsham, was driving her friend Trevor Smith from her home on May 29 2016 in her Audi A3.
A passing motorist reported the car on its roof in Faygate Lane near Rusper at 9.24 pm. When emergency services arrived they discovered that the passenger - 53-year-old Trevor who lived in Dorking - had died at the scene.
Woodhead suffered serious injuries and was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. There officers took a blood sample and found she had 105 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres. Police say Woodhead was later summonsed to court in October 2016 to face a charge of death by dangerous driving.
Woodhead finally pleaded guilty to the offence at Hove Crown Court today and was sentenced to nine years in prison and banned from driving for 10 years.
Sergeant Clare Kenward said later: “Woodhead’s conduct throughout the investigation and court process has created significant delays which has been extremely distressing for Trevor’s family. I am pleased that this matter has finally been concluded today with a significant sentence.”
Trevor Smith’s children Chloe, Jade, Rachel and Sophie have paid tribute to him: “Our dad was loved by everyone, his friends and family. Not one person had one bad word to say. He was such a laid back and gentle man, although he was a ladies man.
“He was dedicated to his work but he also loved his time off. You’d often find him in the pub drinking a bitter, singing on the karaoke or at our local LB1.
He saw the best in everyone and gave lectures when needed in his soft and smooth voice.
You’d hardly see him out of a chequered shift and without his infectious smile. You’d know if dad was in the room due to his laughter, constant whistling and tapping.
“He loved painting, holidays, country music and his family. Some of which he hasn’t met.
“He had many dreams, his white picket fence, how to become a millionaire which was snatched away from him.
“Dad was the most selfless man always putting himself out to help children and friends.
“Everyone knew just how strong he was when he survived a severe heart attack two years before he was killed.
“His death and the process since has affected us all so much. All four of us have been suffering with severe depression, so much anxiety even when it comes to cars. Three of us get very upset as our dad won’t be walking us down the aisle on one of the most important days of the year within the next year.
“It pains us that dad’s grandchildren won’t be able to grow up with their grandad and see them grow or even meet future grandchildren.
“Regardless of the sentence she receives it will never be enough. He was still young when he was killed. However we are the closest we have ever been and now the case is closed we can help each other start the grieving process.
“Always in our hearts and loved more than he will ever know. Until we meet again.”