Drink and drug driver who hit a woman and child in East Tilbury is jailed

Liam East

A DRUG and drink driver who lost control of a car and hit a woman and a child has been jailed.

Liam Jones-Bell lost control of the Mercedes in Coronation Avenue, East Tilbury, on Wednesday, May 16.

The car hit the kerb, then careered across the road and struck a garden wall. It then travelled back into the road, colliding with the two pedestrians, who were crossing the road.

The 65-year-old woman suffered a life threatening head injury and fractured pelvis, she remains seriously ill in hospital.

The 11-year-old girl suffered serious injuries and is now recovering at home.

Jones-Bell fled the scene, driving away with two flat tyres.

Officers carried out a search of the area and found tyre marks and bits of tyre in East Tilbury Road and Waltons Hall Road.

They found the car abandoned in Mucking Wharf Road. Enquiries revealed it was a hired car that had been taken from an address in Basildon and was hired to someone else.

A driver reported seeing a man walking along the side of the road and behaving strangely.

She contacted police and Jones-Bell was arrested at the Five Bells roundabout in Fobbing.

Jones-Bell, 25, of Markhams Chase, Laindon, was charged with two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was also charged with failing to stop after a collision, aggravated vehicle taking, drink-driving, driving while unfit through drugs, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

He admitted all charges when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday, Friday, June 22.

He was handed a five year prison term, reduced to three years and four months due to the early plea. This was for both of the two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He is also disqualified from driving for eight years and eight months and received a 13 month prison term for the charge of aggravated vehicle taking.

In addition to this, Jones-Bell was given four months in prison with a four year and eight month ban for the counts of drink driving and drug driving.

All prison terms and bans are concurrent. At the end of the driving ban, he must take an extended retest.

Jones-Bell was twice the drink drive limit and also had traces of cocaine in his blood. Two empty wine bottles were found in the glove box of the car and a can of cider was found located next to it. His fingerprints were found on them.

Senior Investigating Officer Inspector Rob Brettell, of Essex Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This sentence shows the courts view on the seriousness of driving whilst intoxicated through drink and drugs.

“Jones-Bell set about on a course of destruction when he choose to get behind the wheel of that car. He has now destroyed the lives of a number of families who will have to live with the consequences of his actions forever. I would like to thank the witnesses who called police on the day and assisted our investigation.

“This sentence shows the courts view on the seriousness of driving whilst intoxicated through drink and drugs. Jones-Bell set about on a course of destruction when he choose to get behind the wheel of that car. He has now destroyed the lives of a number of families who will have to live with the consequences of his actions forever. I would like to thank the witnesses who called police on the day and assisted our investigation.

If you know anyone who you suspect to be driving under the influence of drink or drugs please do call Essex Police or Crimestoppers to report it.”

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Extract from impact statement, read out in court by 11-year-old girl:

“Because of my injuries I have missed out on my first ever residential school trip to an activity centre. I will miss my dancing show that I have been working towards for two years. I can’t play netball and have missed tournaments.

“I also didn’t get to sit my SATS which I have been working hard on.

This means that when I go up to senior school I will be split from my friends and put in a lower class until I can show the teachers I need to be in a higher class.

“I just want to be normal, play with my friends and join in, but at the moment I am not allowed in the playground in case I hurt myself.

“I know with time I will get better, but I will never forget the accident.”

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