Drink-driver who “smiled” after smashing into family’s car in Northamptonshire is jailed

Northampton Crown Court
Northampton Crown Court

A drink-driver from Moulton who crashed into a family car on a Northamptonshire roundabout near has been jailed for eight months and banned from driving for two and-a-half years.

Benjamin Paul, 21, from Lowick Court in Moulton, smashed his Corsa into a Passat carrying a family with two young children at the traffic lights on the eastbound slip road at junction 7 of the A14 in November last year while he was at almost three times the legal alcohol limit.

He confronted the defendant who was standing outside his car and smiling

Paul Prior

Paul appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday (March 31) having pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and dangerous driving at a previous hearing.

The court heard how he tailgated a motorist on the eastbound carriageway of the A14 before leaving at junction 7 on the evening of November 9, a Sunday, last year.

Witnesses said he approached the roundabout in the left hand Corby-bound lane, only to switch to the Kettering-bound lanes on the right at the last moment.

Prosecution barrister Paul Prior said: “The defendant’s car struck the Passat on its front corner, which made it crash into a lamp post. The Corsa flipped onto its roof.”

A witness who had been tailgated by Paul on the A14 arrived at the scene moments later and saw Paul, who had got out of his car.

Mr Prior said: “He confronted the defendant who was standing outside his car and smiling. He asked him if he was drunk and the defendant replied “Yes, I have been drinking”.”

The family in the Passat, a mum, dad and two girls aged eight and three, were all taken to Kettering General Hospital for treatment. The court heard that the dad had to take a month off work because of a knee injury while his partner and eight-year-old daughter suffered bruising. The three-year-old was said to be uninjured.

Mr Prior said police arrested Paul at the scene and a breath test showed he had 102 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

Paul told officers he had drunk three vodka and cokes with friends and said they had been topping up his drink without his knowledge.

Maxine Krone, in mitigation, said Paul was supported by his family and had a good work ethic.

She added: “He was appalled to read in one statement that he was smiling after the incident. He says he was shocked and embarrassed at the time.

“He was also most distressed to hear of the injuries the family suffered.”

Recorder Adrian Redgrave QC said: “The family suffered mercifully minor injuries, but you are lucky you did not kill anyone,

“Everything I have read about you says you are normally a decent young man but what you did on this occasion was so serious that there has to be a prison sentence.”

Paul was jailed for eight months for dangerous driving, with a three month concurrent sentence for drink driving. He was also disqualified for 30 months and will have to take an extended driving test to get back his licence.

While leaving court, a supporter of Paul’s who had been in the public gallery told the recorder the sentence was “out of order”.