Drug driver sentenced following fatal collision in Warmingham
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A man who was found guilty of causing death by driving without due care and attention whilst over the specified controlled drug limit following a fatal collision in Warmingham.
Martin Cunliffe was found guilty of the charge following a four-day trial at Chester Crown Court which concluded on Friday 27 April.
The 37-year-old from Barnton, reappeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday 14 July where he was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
He was also banned from driving for seven years.
The charges relate to a collision that occurred at around 11am on Wednesday 12 August 2020 on School Lane, Warmingham.
Officers attended the scene and on arrival they found that a red Fiat 500 driven by Cunliffe had collided with a white Ford Connect van.
The driver of the van, 50-year-old Gerry Smith, from Middlewich, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cunliffe was also injured and taken to hospital.
An investigation was launched by officers from Cheshire Constabulary’s Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit.
During their enquiries, officers spoke to several witnesses who stated that Cunliffe had been travelling well above the 30mph limit, with one also stating that he had overtaken them at speed.
Officers also recovered CCTV footage from local properties and data from the Fiat that showed Cunliffe had travelled along School Lane at speeds of up to 54mph.The data also show that he was travelling at a speed of no less than 39mph at the point of impact.
Blood analysis taken from Cunliffe also revealed that he was under the influence of MDMA (Ecstasy) at the time of the collision; with a level of 392 microgram of MDMA per litre of blood – 39 times over the drug drive limit.
After gathering all the evidence, a case file of evidence was presented to the Crown Prosecution Service who concluded that Cunliffe should be charged causing death by driving without due care and attention whilst over the specified controlled drug limit.
Following the sentencing, PC Liz Thompson, of the Cheshire Constabulary Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit, said:
“This case demonstrates the repercussions of driving under the influence of illegal drugs and driving in excess of the speed limit and without care and attention.
“On the morning of the collision Cunliffe took the decision to get behind the wheel, despite the fact that he knew he was under the influence of MDMA.
“As a result of that decision, a man has lost his life and Cunliffe is now facing the consequences of his actions.
“My thoughts at this time remain with Mr Smith’s family and while nothing will ever bring him back, I hope that the conclusion of the case and the guilty verdict will provide them with some closure and allow them to move forward with their lives.”
Mr Smith’s family added;
“We are absolutely devastated by the sudden avoidable loss of our beloved Gerry and put our lives have fallen apart since his death.
“Gerry was a much loved family man, he leaves behind his loving wife, seven children and 24 grandchildren, four of whom will never have the opportunity to meet their loving grandad.
“He was the life and soul of the party, a man with a big heart and will always be missed by all his family and friends.”