Gosport man jailed for ploughing car into friends

JAILED Matthew Styler
JAILED Matthew Styler
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A FORMER soldier who drove his car into two young women and then set it alight has been jailed for five and a half years.

Matthew Styler, of Monks Walk, Elson in Gosport, was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court today for the incident, which left friends Kirsty Searle and Holly Burns seriously injured on July 2 last year.

The court heard how the victims had enjoyed an evening at a nearby pub when Styler, who was driving his Vauxhall Astra between 56-58 miles per hour in a 30 zone, ploughed into them crossing Stoke Road.

He drove the car into a secluded wooded area four miles away from the incident and set fire to it in an attempt to destroy the evidence.

The 36-year-old washed his clothes, as well as boots and sunglasses, and shaved off his beard to cover-up the crime.

He eventually gave himself up and was arrested by police the next day.

Daniel Riley, defending, told the court Styler, who was wounded on a tour of Afghanistan in 2010, had expressed remorse for what he had done and said he had been since diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

Sentencing, Judge Sarah Munro said: ‘It was nothing to do with post traumatic stress that let you to get into the driving seat.

‘You were so drunk you couldn’t see what was outside the windscreen of your car.

‘The reports I have read make it clear that sober you are very sorry for what you did and accept that you deserve a lengthy sentence but your efforts to try and get out of being caught were significant.’