A DRINK-DRIVER who caused the death of his cousin in a crash has been jailed.
Harry Keet, 20, had been out drinking with Joe, 38, and others when the Ford Fiesta he was driving left Heath Road in Soberton and hit a tree.
Passenger Joe, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown through the car windscreen onto the bonnet. He died of multiple injuries at the scene.
Now Harry Keet has been jailed for 16 months after he admitted causing the death of his cousin by careless driving while over the prescribed limit.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Harry and Joe had been out drinking with a group at a pub before the tragedy.
The group had originally travelled in pony and traps.
But Harry later drove Joe back to the pub after his cousin, of Firgrove Lane, North Boarhunt, realised he did not have his mobile phone.
Harry, who said he had already had five lagers with dashes of lemonade in, later told police he had two more lager tops and a sambuca.
They left in the car at about 10pm but never arrived at their destination.
When a car stopped at the scene a short time later on September 22, Harry Keet was still in the driver’s seat.
Daniel Sawyer, prosecuting, said: ‘Within a very short period of time the defendant went over to where Joe Keet was lying on the bonnet and he is then described as breaking down, sobbing and holding Joe Keet as he lay.’
An investigation revealed Harry Keet had been driving at about 55mph in the 60mph zone when the crash happened.
Evidence was consistent with him losing attention and driving off the road at a bend.
A test revealed Harry Keet’s blood contained 104mg of alcohol per 100ml. The legal limit is 80mg.
Harry Keet initially said a car coming the other way had blinded him with its light. No evidence of another car was found on CCTV from near the scene, but the Crown said it could not rule out the possibility of another vehicle.
Howard Barrington-Clark, defending, said: ‘This is a tragic case for all sides.’
Addressing Harry Keet, of London Road, Widley, judge Ian Pearson said: ‘You took a significant risk and it’s your cousin who has paid the price.’
Harry Keet received a five-year driving ban.