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Drink-drive paramedic who killed cyclist sentenced to five years and four months in jail

Robert Woodruff drank ten pints before veering across the road, fatally striking 56-year-old father of five Richard Goodwin

An off-duty paramedic has been sentenced to five years and four months in prison after fatally striking a cyclist with his car while double the legal drink-drive limit.

Robert Woodruff, who has worked for Yorkshire Ambulance Service since 2014, admitted causing death by dangerous driving at Hull Crown Court, where he was also banned from driving for seven years and eight months, after which he will be required to pass an extended test.

The BBC reports that the 36-year-old had consumed ten pints of Guinness before borrowing his father’s car to drive to a party on 26 June 2021. 

On the A1033 between the villages of Patrington and Ottringham in East Yorkshire, Woodruff veered across the road, striking cyclist Richard Goodwin, who had been riding home from a barbecue on the rural road.

56-year-old father of five Goodwin, from Hull, was carried for 70 metres on the bonnet of Woodruff’s car, and died at the scene shortly after.

> Eight-year sentence for drink driver who killed cyclist after emptying vodka bottle

The court heard that the motorist had veered across the road “for no apparent reason” into the “clearly visible” cyclist.

According to witnesses, Woodruff had tailgated another driver in the moments before the collision, and had narrowly avoided driving into an oncoming car while attempting an overtake.

Witnesses also saw the driver looking down at his phone, which had been placed on the front passenger seat. Records showed that Woodruff had made a number of phone calls using the car’s in-built hands-free device.

> Hit-and-run laws give drink-drivers incentive to flee crashes where they have killed people, says MP

Mr Goodwin’s 19-year-old son Oliver told the court that he is “haunted” by the thoughts of his father’s final moments, while another son, Sam, said that his father had been the “glue” that held the family together.

Though Woodruff avoided looking at the public gallery while Mr Goodwin’s sons read their statements, he apologised in a letter to the Goodwin family, and said that he hoped his “shameful actions” would act as an “eye-opener” for anyone else tempted to drink and drive.

Judge Mark Bury said that the paramedic had devoted his life to “saving lives, not wrecking them”.

He concluded: “I believe you will carry the guilt of your shameful actions for the rest of your life.”

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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NOtotheEU | 1 year ago

Interesting (& infuriating) article on why the sentence was so low;

Why killer drink driver Robert Woodruff was only jailed for five years - insight from our court reporter

eburtthebike | 1 year ago

It is hard to believe that a person who must have professionally attended many collisions and given aid to injured/dying people would behave so recklessly.

IanMSpencer replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago

I would assume that the severety of the sentence (in comparison with many we have seen) would take into account his professional status and treat that as an adverse factor. But yes, amazing that any professional involved in emergency callouts would have allowed themselves to behave so irresponsibly.

I guess, in the end, it shows how badly alcohol affects judgement. 

brooksby replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
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It said in one of the articles I read on this that he told someone at the scene that he was sure he was fine to drive (after ten pints of Guinness?).

Sriracha | 1 year ago
1 like

He "borrowed" his father's car? Does that mean his father lent it to him? "Here son, take my car, open the window if you're going to spew".

OnYerBike replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
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Bit of a leap there - might have been agreed well in advance ("hey dad can I borrow your car to drive to a party next week?") or even a long-standing agreement that he could borrow the car whenever.

Or might have been TWOC but courts decided not to stack the charges given the severity of the main charge. 

mctrials23 | 1 year ago

Should be pretty simple. Caught more than twice limit and you lose your licence for 5 years. Kill someone when you are drink driving and you never get your licence back and serve 20+ years in jail. I don't give a crap whether you went out there to kill someone. The chances of it happening are far too high for it not to be punished severely. 

Until we stop telling drivers that its OK to hurt or kill people in their cars it will keep happening. I don't care if you need to drive for your job. If you cared about your family or anyone elses family you wouldn't drive in a dangerous way to save a few minutes of your time and put others at such risk.

Literally everything about driver punishment removes the implecation that they are driving a death machine capable of easily killing people. Its bizarre. 

EK Spinner replied to mctrials23 | 1 year ago

I am all for life bans, and proper punishment for selfish idiots who have no regard for the safety of others on our roads. I do sometimes wonder though why so many want a distinction on punishment based on the consequences of their actions.

The analogy I tend to use (rather than discuss on a real case) is that of a pissed up driver who crashes into a bus shelter at 80mph. The current situation is that they would be charged and punished very differently based on whether the bus had been on time and driven off with passangers or if the bus was running a little late and 7 people were wiped out. The drivers actions have been no differnent and should be (severly) punished accordingly.

OnYerBike replied to EK Spinner | 1 year ago

It's worth pointing out that this doesn't just apply to road traffic offences - many crimes put significant weight on the outcomes, not just the actions. 

Jimmy Ray Will replied to EK Spinner | 1 year ago

Do you not think there should be a degree of accountability for ending someone lives through your actions? I'm sure you do.

But I guess your thinking is to switch it around... if you are caught drink driving then you should automatically get the maximum sentence based on what might have happened.

The trouble is, do you just apply that to drink driving, or do you carry it through to speeding and everything that could be classed as dangerous driving? I gues you'd have to.

That's great, but looking at the maximum sentencing available, that's going to be a lot of people going to prison for effective life sentences. I'm not sure the prison service could cope, I don't think many jurors would have the stomach for it, and I don't think society as a whole would benefit. 


EK Spinner replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 1 year ago

Jimm and OnYerBike have of course though through my comment far better than I have, and yes it does apply in non driving cases as well and you are correct of course, taking it to the logical conclusion then a speeding offfence would become a jail sentence which does go to far.

I still think it seems strange that had the victim survived then there would have been a different set of charges brought to court.

sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
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A couple of grand to the right people would have his eyes taken away in prison. Let him live in eternal darkness for taking a life so needlessly. 

MTB Refugee | 1 year ago

Anyone know what the maximum sentence would be and what exactly you would need to do to achieve it?

This would surely be deserving of a maximum, talk about someone who should know better.

Secret_squirrel replied to MTB Refugee | 1 year ago
1 like

It looks abut right by the sentencing guidelines, maybe a smidge light but not by much. 

Max is 14 years for Level 1 Desth by dangerous driving with lots of aggravating circumstances and no remorse . 

I suspect he was just around  the level 1 "median" of 8 years but plead guilty and got a 25% discount to 5ish years.


HoarseMann | 1 year ago


he hoped his “shameful actions” would act as an “eye-opener”

Really? Who needs to be told that driving after 10 pints is not a good idea. Trying to find a positive out of his appallingly bad judgement just smacks of selfishness.

wtjs replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago

He's out after 3 years of thinking in the nick that he was harshly treated. What he's sorry about is that he didn't get away with a hit and run- because most people do.

HoarseMann replied to wtjs | 1 year ago

It gets worse. According to this article, he got a job working as a delivery driver after the collision. It beggars belief the obnoxious behaviour of this individual and what he has put this poor family through.

muhasib replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago

So Woodruff was suspended on full pay and then worked as a delivery driver; the employment contracts I've been responsible for issuing all had a clause that 2nd jobs needed the permission of the Chief Executive before being undertaken ( so potentially is a breach of contract). I'm dismayed that no one in YAS could have acted on that earlier if Woodruff was publicising his double income on social media. It wouldn't have changed the outcome of course but may have lessened the ongoing suffering of the Goodwin family.

brooksby | 1 year ago

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