A drug driver has been jailed after colliding head-on with a van and then fleeing the scene – leaving her friend in the back of the car to die.
Kathryn Watkins, 35, of no fixed abode, called her friend Alex Edney on the afternoon of May 25 and asked him to give her a lift from Hastings, East Sussex, to Peterborough, Cambs.
Mr Edney, 44, and his friend immediately drove to pick Watkins and another woman up, who both sat in the back of the car.
But after several swaps between Mr Edney and Watkins as to who was driving, the Vauxhall Astra car was involved in a head-on collision with a Mercedes Sprinter van, while Watkins was at the wheel.
Watkins and her female friend fled the scene on foot, leaving Mr Edney in the back seat struggling to breathe.
He was declared dead at the scene, on an industrial estate on Southgate Way in Peterborough, when police officers and paramedics arrived.
Watkins was today sentenced to ten years in jail, and disqualified from driving for 12 years.
Peterborough Crown Court heard that Mr Edney was driving as they began their journey to Peterborough.
But Watkins soon began to get agitated at how long the journey was taking, and at a service station on the M25, Watkins swapped to be the driver.
After a road rage incident, Mr Edney asked her to pull over, and the pair swapped again.
Watkins continued to be angry, but when told by Mr Edney’s friend to calm down, she stood up in the rear of car and punched him in the face at least four times.
The man asked Mr Edney to stop the car and left the vehicle, before the remaining group of three continued their journey.
At 1.23am the man received a text from Mr Edney asking him for help as Watkins was once again in the driving seat.
Cell site analysis tracked Mr Edney’s phone onto the A1M near Sawtry.
Two minutes later the man called police and officers found him by the side of the road on the A1307.
Less than 20 minutes later, at 1.42am, police were called to reports of a head-on collision between a Vauxhall Astra and a Mercedes Sprinter van.
The witness also told officers that two women had fled the scene on foot leaving a man in the back of the car behind, who was struggling to breathe.
Watkins and her friend called a taxi five minutes later and were taken to Peterborough. The driver described Watkins as being “very angry and swearing”.
Officers and paramedics arrived at the location of the crash at an industrial estate on Southgate Way, Peterborough, and Mr Edney, of Aldershot, Hampshire, was declared dead at the scene.
In a statement released at the time his family said: “Alex was a loving son, grandson, dad and brother.
“He was a good friend to many, always willing to help others and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”
At 2.40am, police received a call from the ambulance service requesting help at a house in Fellows Gardens, Peterborough.
Police attended and found Watkins with a suspected broken wrist and her friend with suspected broken ribs.
Both were taken to hospital as a precaution and later arrested in relation to the fatal collision.
Watkins suffered severe bruising to her ankle, left forearm, chest and thigh. Her friend was left with a broken arm.
When remanded in custody Watkins had a blood test which revealed she was over the legal alcohol limit to drive.
The blood test also showed that the levels of Benzoylecgonine, a cocaine breakdown product, were approximately 800 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of blood.
This is more than 15 times the legal limit of 50 microgrammes.
Watkins was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by driving a vehicle while uninsured, failing to stop and common assault.
Her friend faced no further action.
Watkins pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious Injury by dangerous driving and common assault at Peterborough Crown Court today.
She was sentenced on the same day, where Judge Sean Enright handed her 10 years in prison. She was also disqualified from driving for 12 years.
Sergeant Mark Dollard, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Watkins was on an inevitable path of destruction that night and a serious collision was inevitable.
“Her driving was truly atrocious; she knew she had consumed alcohol and drugs but selfishly gave no regard for the safety of others.
“Watkins’ actions after the collision were even more horrendous.
“She gave no care as to the extent of Mr Edney’s injuries, showing more concern for her belongings than that of another human being who was supposed to be her friend.
“She then fled the scene prior to police arrival, without ever checking on Mr Edney who lay dying in the back of the car.
“It was only through hard work that the police were able to find Watkins and build a case that left her with no option but to plead guilty today.
“Drink and drug driving is illegal, dangerous and risks lives – this case is yet another reminder of that.
“People can help us make the roads of Cambridgeshire safer for everyone by confidentially reporting others they suspect of driving while under the influence.”
The force operates a dedicated, confidential hotline for members of the public to report drink or drug driving.
The hotline 0800 032 0845 is available 24/7, and gives people the chance to supply the police with information to help reduce the number of drink or drug drivers on the county’s road