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6 years in jail for drunk & banned driver who killed Sussex cyclist

Samuel Kirk was illegally overtaking on wrong side of road when he hit Jennifer Hossack who was riding in opposite direction

A Sussex motorist who was banned from driving and over the drink-drive limit when he killed a female cyclist has been given a six-year prison sentence and a three-year ban after being convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. 

Jennifer Hossack, aged 27 and from Kingsfold near Horsham, died from injuries she sustained on the evening of 27 September when she was struck by a Citroën Xsara driven by Samuel Kirk, aged 26, near Pulborough.

Kirk, who has no fixed address, had driven across double white lines in the road to illegally overtake another car when his vehicle hit Miss Hossack, who was riding in the opposite direction, reports The Argus

His car crashed after he lost control of it, and he fled the scene, Lewes Crown Court was told.

After he was sentenced, Sergeant Stewart Goodwin of Sussex Police said: "The actions of Samuel Kirk show exactly what can happen when someone gets behind the wheel after drinking.

"His behaviour cost the Hossack family their loved one and have cost him his liberty.

"The message to people considering drink-driving is simple - don't do it."

Days after Miss Hossack’s death, Kirk appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court and was jailed for 20 weeks after pleading guilty to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Kirk, who was disqualified at the time of the fatal incident and had also been drinking, will have to take an extended driving test once his ban expires before he can get his licence back.

Since 2009, in cases where a custodial sentence has been imposed, driving bans only start running once the motorist has been released from prison.

That change in the law was the result of a campaign fought by Jan Woodward, whose daughter Kelly, aged 19, was killed after accepting a lift home from a party from a man who had twice as much alcohol in his bloodstream as the legal limit.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the victim’s mother that the sentence was unduly lenient, increasing the prison sentence handed down to Andrew Burrell from two and a half years to four and a half years, and banning him for driving for five years.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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