Drink-drive mum jailed for killing daughter, 6, and fiance in horror crash

A drink-drive mum who killed her six-year-old daughter and fiance in a horror car crash has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Carly Tomlinson, 24, had downed two pints of lager and three vodka drinks before the 1.25am smash which left her partner James Watson and their daughter Ruby dead.

The mum-of-two would have been “just below twice the legal limit” when the 43mph crash took place in Belper, Derbyshire on April 30 last year, an expert analysis found.

Ruby wasn’t properly secured in her booster seat and Mr Watson, 28, wasn’t wearing a seat belt when the Fiat Panda spun out of control and ploughed into a railing, telegraph pole and stone wall, Derbyshire Live reports.

Mr Watson’s devastated mother angrily hit out at Tomlinson – urging the judge to "make her pay for all the heartbreak she has done" – before she was jailed.

Tomlinson, who survived the crash with serious injuries, had admitted to causing the deaths of her daughter and fiance by careless driving while unfit through drink.

Judge Gregory Dickinson sentenced her to two years – she will serve half before being released on licensed supervision – and disqualified her from driving for four years.

The judge told her she "must have known" that she had had too much to drink, and there was "no right sentence" for the "serious and tragic" crash.


He said: "You should not have been drinking, you knew that. You must have known you have had too much to drink?"

The judge added: “It was a terrible collision. James and Ruby must have died immediately and you must have been driving well in excess of the 30mph speed limit.

“Sadly there is one major aggravating feature in this case – two people died. You took a risk and you drove.

“People you love, and who love you, will be haunted by this for the rest of their lives."

“You have a younger daughter, Violet, who is three, and there will come a time where she will be told or find out what happened.

“This will be with you for the rest of your life. You caused terrible loss but you will suffer that yourself.

“There is no right sentence, nobody can put a value on a life.”

Alex Wolfson, prosecuting, said Tomlinson, Mr Watson and Ruby had been at Marehay Miners’ Welfare Club from 8pm until 1am.

She had downed two pints of lager and three vodka and Cokes before the trio got into the car, he added.

Mr Wolfson said: “James was not wearing a seat belt and Ruby was not properly secured in the back.”

He said the car clipped a kerb and mounted the pavement, travelling along it for 34 metres (111ft) before rotating clockwise to the other side of the road, where it collided with the railing.

It then went head first into a telegraph pole.

Mr Wolfson said Mr Watson and Ruby were declared dead at the scene and a passerby got off a bus, which had been forced to stop, and “frantically” tried to get Tomlinson from the car.

She suffered a broken back, pelvis and ribs in the collision, and spent time in an induced coma while in hospital for two months.

She cannot remember how the crash happened, the court heard.

Blood samples taken almost four hours after the crash in Kilbourne Road showed her to be just over the legal drink-drive limit, the court heard.

However, expert analysis concluded she would have been “just below twice the legal limit” when the accident took place.

Mr Wolfson said road collision investigators concluded that Tomlinson would have been travelling at 43mph just before the point of impact, which was “well in excess of the 30mph limit”.

Tomlinson and Mr Watson, both of Belper, were due to marry in May of this year.

She continues to care for the couple’s three-year-old daughter, and worked as both a cleaner and a police support worker, the court heard.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Watson’s grief-stricken mother Janine Hitchcock told how the double fatal crash has "completely torn apart" her family.

She claimed Tomlinson had shown no remorse, and called on the judge to make her "pay" for her actions.

Her statement read: “I am sorry I am not in court but that is because I am so angry at what she has done to my family.

“We are not on her side like people think. She needs to pay for all the heartbreak she has done.

“Last year, on April 30, my son and granddaughter were killed in a crash caused by Carly Tomlinson.

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“There has been a lot about the crash online, and in the press, all of it supporting Carly.

“I am not supportive, I think she should pay for her actions.

“James had a choice to get in that car but Ruby was not able to make that choice.

“She was killed by the actions of her mother.

“It makes me very angry that she made the decision to drink-drive.

“My family has been completely torn apart and I feel awful like I can’t breathe. I feel so strongly that she should be punished.”

Raglan Ashton, defending, told the court that Tomlinson wishes she could trade places with her partner and daughter.

He said: “She understands the level of resentment towards her and she understands the impact her actions have caused.

“In her own words in the probation report, she says it is always on her mind.

“She says ‘I will never forgive myself and not a day goes by when I don’t think of James and Ruby’.

“She said given the chance she would put herself in their place.”

Mr Ashton said Tomlinson doesn’t know why she chose to drive that night, as Mr Watson was the one who usually drove.

He added: "The journey home that night was short, some two-and-a-half miles.

“Ordinarily it was James who drove.

“One of the points she is wrestling with internally is what caused her to drive on that occasion, and sadly she does not know the answers.

“She’s at a loss to explain why and how she came to be involved in this terrible collision.

“She can’t answer, she does not know.”

Mr Ashton added: “May 24, 2018, was supposed to be the happiest day of Carly Tomlinson’s life because that was the day she was due to get married to James.

"He was her best friend, her soul mate and the father to her two children.

"The events of April 29-30 of 2017 were catastrophic and she has to understand she was the cause of that.”

Tomlinson pleaded guilty at a previous hearing on June 22 to two counts of causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink.

She was released on bail and ordered to return to Nottingham Crown Court for Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

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