A drugged and drunk hit-and-run driver who told police she had “hit a fox” after running over a cyclist in a hit and run crash in North Yorkshire, despite losing two tyres, a front bumper and smashing her windscreen, has been jailed for five years and two months.
Emma Moughan, aged 42, was three times over the drink-driving limit and 10 times over the limit for cocaine when she killed Patrick Hird on the A1041 in Camblesforth on the evening of 11 October last year, reports the Yorkshire Post.
Despite the windscreen of her Mercedes-Benz being smashed and the car’s front bumper ripped off in the crash, and with two of the vehicle’s tyres missing, she drove on to Selby, where she was stopped by police in the town centre.
The bumper was found at the scene of the crash, where there were tyre marks on the grass verge indicating that Moughan had veered to the left, and Mr Hird’s DNA was discovered on the roof of her car.
Moughan, who had been driving to her mother’s home after arguing with her partner and drinking and taking cocaine, told police that she thought she had run over a fox.
Mr Hird, aged 61, had lost his wife the previous year and was riding his e-bike to start a night shift at work when Moughan hit him. He was pronounced dead at the scene, having sustained fatal injuries to his head and spine.
Wearing hi-visibility clothing and with front and rear lights visible on his bike, it is estimated that he would have been visible to the motorist for 600 metres, or 20 seconds.
After the fatal crash, Moughan was captured on CCTV driving across mini roundabouts as well as crashing into a traffic island.
Six weeks later, she was discovered passed out on the back seat of a Fiat Punto which had been damaged in a crash with another vehicle, and was found to be over the drink-drive limit on that occasion as well.
Mr Hird was from a tight-knit family who all lived in the same village. In a victim impact statement read out in court, his sister Lorraine McCullough described how her mother had become withdrawn following his death.
“She struggled to do all of the things that Patrick used to do for her,” she wrote. “She used to be quite jolly, but she is now withdrawn and more frail.
“She has stopped seeing people and struggles with Sundays, as he died on a Sunday, Mum bought him the bike and I think she blames herself for what happened. She wakes up every morning at the time I came to tell her what had happened.
“Me and Patrick had been close since we were children, we always shared problems. Me and my husband looked after him after his wife passed away. We miss him terribly. It hasn't got any easier and we will never get over what happened,” she added.
Moughan pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, with her defence council saying in mitigation that she had “no excuses” for killing Mr Hird, and that in two years prior to the crash she had struggled with her mental health and had been in an abusive relationship.
Jailing her for five years and two months, Judge Simon Hickey said: “No sentence can do justice in the family's eyes. Patrick Hird was doing everything possible to make sure he could be seen. He was going about his business and I have no hesitation in finding he would have been easily visible for around 600 metres.
“Your Mercedes had reactive lights, the best available to a motor car,” the judge said. “On that straight road you can see for quite a distance. You were driving what was effectively a weapon and you were a danger to all road users.
“You could have hit anybody. You drove for seven miles and after you hit him you didn't stop. He had no chance. You claimed you had hit a fox but I doubt that you believed that.”
He acknowledged that Moughan, who has daughters aged 12 and 18, had led “a blameless life until it unravelled,” but added that the incident six weeks later “does temper your remorse” and “balances out your mitigation.”
He also banned her from driving for eight years and she will have to take an extended retest should she wish to regain her licence.
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.