A driver who killed a cyclist as she chased her boyfriend’s car through a Sheffield suburb at 69 miles an hour and while over the drink-drive limit has been jailed for four years – a sentence that the victim’s widow described as “disgusting,” adding, "this is not justice."
Beauty therapist Emma Egan, aged 26 and from Dewsbury, pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court to causing the death by dangerous driving of 55-year-old father-of-two Eric Codling in November last year, reports Gazzettelive.co.uk. She was also banned from driving for six years.
Despite having been drinking after boyfriend Liam Dent terminated their relationship, Egan, from Dewsbury, decided to chase after him in her Vauxhall Astra.
As she drove immediately behind his vehicle, she lost control of her car on Whirlowdale Road, Whirlow, hitting Mr Codling head-on. He died instantly.
After stopping, Egan then left the scene but did not report the crash and police later found her at Mr Dent’s home, where she was described as “wailing incoherently, rocking in her seat and physically shaking before falling to the floor and vomiting.”
She told police: “Oh God, what have I done? I’m so sorry”.
Alan Taylor, representing Egan, said his client was “profoundly sorry for her actions leading to the tragedy” and that she had been undergoing “emotional turmoil” when the crash happened.
He added: “She must bear the heavy burden of guilt for the rest of her life. Not a day will go by when she will not remember the pain and anguish she has caused.”
Sentencing Egan, Judge Julian Goose said: “No order or sentence will bring back the life of the deceased.
“Death by dangerous driving is aggravated in your case by the fact that at the time you were over the limit and were in pursuit of another vehicle while travelling at excessive speed.”
Mr Codling’s widow, Karen, was in court to see Egan, who is likely to serve only half the four-year jail term, sentenced. She said: “This is not justice - is Eric’s life only worth four years?
“I know nothing will bring Eric back, but four years is disgusting. To only serve two years for killing somebody just doesn’t make sense. Why is what she did any different to murder?
“We don’t feel there has been any justice.”
During the trial it emerged that Egan’s own sister had been killed by a drunk-driver eight years ago, which Mrs Codling said “added insult to injury.”
She added: “Egan’s own mum at the time said a four-year sentence for the driver who killed her daughter was an outrage, and she is right - it is.”
Victim impact statement from Mr Codling’s family were read out to the court.
His daughter Grace, aged 13, said: “I miss him being here, I miss everything about him. I feel angry. I think it’s horrible someone could do it.”
She said that her younger sister Eve, aged nine, “does not talk to anyone,” and said of the day she learnt her father had died that “it felt like something just stopped.”
Her mother said: “I lost my soulmate, my lover, my everything. My girls lost their cuddles and hugs. We are all bereft.”
The sentence handed down to Egan contrasts to one imposed earlier this month on drunk driver Alison Bowen, aged 61, who killed a cyclist in Sussex and continued to drive for five miles in her damaged car.
Organisations including RoadPeace, CTC and British Cycling have been lobbying the government to ensure the more thorough investigation and prosecution of motorists in cases where vulnerable road users such as cyclists are the victim, as well as harsher penalties for drivers who kill.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.