Ex-bomb disposal team member from Washington jailed for seven years and four months for causing death of Coxhoe woman in A1(M) crash near Durham

The Northern Echo: Victim Jacqueline Dowdall - killed in A1(M) crash while driving to work Victim Jacqueline Dowdall - killed in A1(M) crash while driving to work

A FORMER serviceman who caused the death of a motorist in a high-speed collision while over the drink drive limit was today (Wednesday, December 11) jailed for seven years and four months.

Craig Anthony Bourne, who had been awake for more than 22 hours at the time of the collision, was estimated to be driving a Kia Sorento 4x4 vehicle at more than 100mph on the point of impact with the rear of Jacqueline Dowdall’s Fiat Panda.

The Panda was “catapulted” across the A1(M), under the Carrville interchange roundabout, near Durham, ricocheting into the central reservation and back across the carriageway.

Miss Dowdall, 43, who was driving from her home in Coxhoe, near Durham, to work in Asda’s accounts department, in Washington, suffered “catastrophic” head injuries.

Durham Crown Court heard she would have died almost instantaneously, but her death was formally confirmed at hospital later that day, on Sunday, April 7.

Bourne, who received treatment for minor injuries suffered in the accident shortly after 5am, accepted responsibility and later told police he had been up since 7am the previous day, having been drinking with his girlfriend on a night out at a restaurant.

He said he left her home, in Hurworth, near Darlington, in her vehicle following a possible disagreement, intending to drive to his mother’s home in Washington.

A previous hearing was told he was on medication for post traumatic stress disorder, as a result of experiences as part of a bomb disposal team while serving with the Royal Marines on attachment to the Royal Engineers, in Iraq.

The court heard he received an honorary discharge from the Army.

Tim Gittins, prosecuting, said two-and-a-half hours after the accident Bourne gave a breath test reading almost twice the drink-drive limit.

He said the combination of alcohol and anti-depressants Bourne was taking would have heightened drowsiness and a driving expert believed he may have briefly fallen asleep at the wheel immediately before impact as there were no signs of him attempting to brake or swerve round the Panda.

Christopher Knox, mitigating, told the court the defendant had genuine regret and remorse for his actions, but said he had not planned to drive at that point early in the morning.

Thirty-one-year-old Bourne, of Rushyrigg, Blackfell, Washington, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.

Prior to sentence, Miss Dowdall’s younger sister, Angela Shipley, read a family statement to the court in what is thought to be the first case since the new Victims’ Code came into force, on Tuesday.

It was introduced to allow victims’ voices to be heard.

Mrs Shipley was speaking on behalf of her father, Frank, other sisters Fern and Vicky, and brother David.

She spoke of their daily sense of loss and “turmoil” since their eldest sibling’s death and was praised by Judge Christopher Prince for her “personal fortitude” in presenting the statement.

Jailing Bourne, Judge Prince said he had driven with a “flagrant disregard” for the law.

He banned Bourne for five years and said he must sit a mandatory extended re-test to be able to drive again.

Comments (3)

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6:24pm Wed 11 Dec 13

your joking says...

Won't bring her back though.....and he will probably only serve half the sentance. Thoughts are with her family
Won't bring her back though.....and he will probably only serve half the sentance. Thoughts are with her family your joking

7:45pm Wed 11 Dec 13

English lad says...

Not long enough! Should of been 10 years at least!
Not long enough! Should of been 10 years at least! English lad

11:16am Thu 12 Dec 13

mog2012 says...

not long enough sentence. He should be serving 15 years at least. It was manslaughter, if not murder. Anyone who kills while driving should be going to jail for at least 15 years. Mr. Shelton; your turn in february. Lets hope you go to jail for a long long time for killing an innocent motorcyclist while driving dangerously.
not long enough sentence. He should be serving 15 years at least. It was manslaughter, if not murder. Anyone who kills while driving should be going to jail for at least 15 years. Mr. Shelton; your turn in february. Lets hope you go to jail for a long long time for killing an innocent motorcyclist while driving dangerously. mog2012

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