UK & World News

  • 13 July 2014, 2:45

Deadly Crash Driver 'Thought Cyclist Was Badger'

A drunk driver who killed a cyclist and drove off, thinking she had only hit a badger, has been jailed for seven years.

Alison Bowen, who was more than twice the drink-drive limit, hit Paul Novak with such force that her windscreen caved in.

But despite extensive damage to her car, she drove on for more than five miles, leaving Mr Novak's body lying in a road in Robertsbridge, East Sussex.

Police said 61-year-old Bowen, whose knuckles were cut by the shattered windscreen of her Fiat Punto, was so drunk "she did not even know what she had done".

She only stopped after crashing for a second time in nearby Battle.

When officers asked what had caused the damage to her car, she replied she had heard "a bonk" and thought she had run over a badger.

Mr Novak, who was cycling towards his home in St Leonards when he was knocked down last November, died at the scene.

His mother, Ann Novak, said: "My only son had his life snuffed out in seconds through no fault of his own.

"No sentence will ever be enough to take away the pain I feel that I will not get the chance to spend the rest of my life with him.

"I still cannot come to terms with the fact Paul is no longer with us.

"I've been given great support by my family, friends and the police but nothing can prepare you for the death of your child and nothing takes away the sorrow.

"Paul was more relaxed and happy than he had been for years when he was taken from us.

"I feel robbed that I won't get to enjoy this phase of his life with him."

Bowen, of Battle, pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court to causing death by driving without due care and attention while over the prescribed limit.

As well as a prison sentence, she was banned from driving for two years and will have to pass an extended test before she can get back behind the wheel.

Sergeant Dan Pitcher, of Sussex Police, said: "Mr Novak was the innocent victim of a woman who selfishly decided to drink and then drive home.

"After the collision, Bowen must have been able to see next to nothing out of her windscreen as the front of her car was smashed to pieces, yet she continued on the roads and could have easily caused more serious or even fatal accidents.

"This horrific case shows exactly why we cannot and will not tolerate any drink or drug driving in Sussex."

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