Family of woman killed by 'reckless' Emsworth drunk motorist speeding on A27 call for life sentences for dangerous drivers

A FAMILY who lost a ‘much loved’ wife, mum and grandma after a ‘reckless’ A27 driver smashed into the car she was in killing her and another woman, have called for life sentences for dangerous drivers.

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 12:30 pm

Gillian Casey, 75, and Elizabeth Wales, known as Anne Wales, 80, were both killed when drunk Ryan Dowling, 29, crashed into the Renault Zoe they were travelling in with their husbands, Francis and Derek, and friend Brenda Fitzpatrick, who was also left seriously injured.

On Friday at Portsmouth Crown Court, Dowling, of Woolmer Street, Emsworth, was jailed for eight and a half years for his deadly decision to drive his car after being seen on CCTV drinking at least six pints of Stella Artois in Leigh Park pub the Heron that evening.

Dowling then got in his car before he was seen by other motorists driving ‘dangerously’ at around 100mph weaving in and out of cars and overtaking at short notice before cutting back in.

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Gillian Casey, 75, of Turnbull Road, Chichester, and Elizabeth Wales, known as Anne Wales, 80, of Melbourne Road, Chichester were killed in a crash by Ryan Dowling, pictured Picture: Sussex police

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On his third attempt of performing his manoeuvre, he ploughed into the back of the Renault – causing both cars to spin off the carriageway.

Speaking after the sentence hearing, the Casey family admitted they were disappointed with the sentence before calling for life sentences for such crimes.

‘It is distressing to think that Dowling received a sentence of only eight-and-a-half years and is likely to be released on licence after having served only half of it. Such a sentence seems woefully inadequate for his inexcusable and utterly selfish conduct causing the deaths of two innocent women and seriously injuring a third,’ they said.

Gillian Casey, 75, of Turnbull Road, Chichester, and Elizabeth Wales, known as Anne Wales, 80, of Melbourne Road, Chichester were killed in a crash by Ryan Dowling, pictured. Picture: Sussex police

‘As a family, we welcome the proposals contained in the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill to give judges the power to impose life sentences for death by dangerous driving. We urge government to enact these proposals without further delay.’

The Wales family said they took some ‘satisfaction’ of the sentence, but added: ‘This sentence cannot erase the devastating effect on our family of Mr Dowling's choice not to exercise any care or responsibility towards his fellow road users that night. This is compounded by the lack of an apology or explanation for his actions to us or the family of Gill Casey.’

Investigating officer, DC Greg Brown, said: ‘Dowling’s selfish and irresponsible actions, choosing to drive at speed and after consuming a large quantity of alcohol, tragically cost Mrs Wales and Mrs Casey their lives.

Gillian Casey, 75, (pictured right) of Turnbull Road, Chichester, and Elizabeth Wales, known as Anne Wales, 80, (pictured left) of Melbourne Road, Chichester Picture: Sussex police

‘This sadly confirms the warning we repeatedly issue on road safety: drink-driving destroys lives.

‘This incident has not only claimed the lives of two much-loved women, but has also affected their friends and family, and will also impact on the defendant for years to come.

‘Alcohol consumption dulls drivers’ perceptions, slows reaction times and increases risk-taking behaviour. Driving at excessive speed means that a driver has less time to react and causes greater injury to road users in the event of a crash.

‘Our advice is simple. Drink or drive; never both.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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