An intoxicated driver has been jailed for eight years and eight months after she admitted causing a fatal road traffic collision in Wimborne.

Jessica Berry, aged 26 and of Corfe Mullen, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Tuesday 9 July 2024 after she pleaded guilty to offences of causing death by driving without due care or consideration while over the prescribed limit for alcohol and causing death by driving without due care or consideration while over the specified drug drive limit for cannabis.

She also admitted charges of failing to stop after a road traffic collision and driving a vehicle in a condition likely to cause danger of injury.

As well as receiving a custodial sentence, Berry was also banned from driving for a period of five years, with the disqualification due to commence on her release from prison.

Dorset Police received a report at 10.11pm on Wednesday 4 October 2023 of a collision on the B3078 Julians Road involving a car and a bicycle.

Emergency services attended and, very sadly, the cyclist – 40-year-old James Raeburn – was pronounced dead at the scene.

The vehicle involved did not stop at the scene.

Meanwhile two members of the public noticed a red Vauxhall Corsa with a damaged windscreen that had parked up in the area of Jubilee Road in Corfe Mullen. They then came across the collision scene at Julians Road a short time later and thought the two may be connected.

One of the men stayed at the scene while the other returned to where they had seen the damaged Corsa. Police were notified and located the vehicle, which was registered to Berry.

She was arrested and while in custody she gave a breath test that was found to contain 72 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

A blood sample was taken, which showed the presence of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive constituent of cannabis – at a rate of seven micrograms per litre of blood, the legal limit being two micrograms per litre of blood.

Sergeant Mike Burt, of the Roads Policing Team, said: “Jessica Berry’s extremely reckless actions on the evening of Wednesday 4 October 2023 have had truly devastating consequences.

“By driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and drugs, she posed a significant risk to herself and other road users, which was tragically realised when she was involved in the collision with Mr Raeburn.

“We sadly see all too often the shocking consequences of motorists driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Nothing will ever make up for his family’s loss and I can only hope this case sends a message to those considering driving whilst intoxicated to stop and think about the awful consequences these actions can cause.

“At the sentencing hearing, the judge commended the two members of the public who assisted in locating Berry’s vehicle. I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank them as well for their quick-thinking actions and the vital assistance they gave to this investigation.”

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