A pregnant cyclist lost her unborn child after being hit by a driver who had drunk eight vodkas. Gary Marston, who fled the scene and continued drinking, had hit 12 penalty points on his driving licence earlier in the year but persuaded magistrates not to ban him on the basis it would have caused 'exceptional hardship' by making it difficult for him to run his flooring business.
Leicestershire Live reports that shortly before 9.30pm on December 2, 2019, Marston drove his work van into the back of the unnamed woman as she rode in a cycle lane on Aylestone Road in Leicester.
He had just emerged from a pub in which he had been drinking. He then drove away, leaving her in the road and went to his mother’s house, where he continued drinking and took cocaine.
The prosecution said the woman was a cyclist of vast experience, and clearly visible with lights on her bike and clothing.
She was taken to hospital and two days later Leicestershire Police confirmed she had lost her baby.
Leicestershire Police traced Marston and arrested him. Examination of his mobile phone showed that it was being used when the crash happened.
A collision investigator’s report found that he had been driving at approximately 46mph in a 30mph zone. At the point of impact, or shortly after, he had been travelling at 54mph.
The victim said she had been told she should be "grateful" she did not die herself and that being fit and healthy had saved her.
"All I can think is it that it was not enough to save my little girl," she said.
She continues to suffer with the injuries she sustained.
"Physical pain is the first thing that greets me every morning and then the memory that this is not a nightmare, it is all real.
"I will never be able to forgive myself for being in his way and I will have to live with that feeling of guilt for the rest of my life.
"I'm now scared by the speed of cars and vans and no longer feel safe around roads. I can't drive now and I have to be ferried to hospital by other people. I can't work because of my injuries and I can't be sure I will ever be able to again."
Marston has previous convictions for violent disorder, burglary, possession of a bladed article, affray and criminal damage.
He had also reached 12 penalty points on his licence earlier in 2019, the point at which a driver would ordinarily face a six-month driving ban.
However, he argued this would have caused 'exceptional hardship' by making it difficult for him to run his flooring business and so avoided the ban.
Marston pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of a collision and both the woman and Judge Timothy Spencer QC questioned the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decision to charge only those two offences.
The latter said doing so limited the length of sentence he could impose.
The woman said the death of her child was not reflected in the charges.
Judge Spencer jailed Marston for 18 months and banned him from driving for six years.
"You caused her very serious injury which stays with her and has blighted the nearly a year that has passed since. But all of that pales against the fact that you caused the miscarriage of that baby, who was stillborn.
"Any sentence I impose, any words that come from me, again pale against the guilt and responsibility that go with you Gary Marston for the consequences of your actions.
"It's clear from CCTV footage you drank no less than eight vodkas. You had absolutely no business getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and you must have known that even if you were impaired by drink.
"But your own selfish concerns no doubt dictated your behaviour. The consequences of your actions have been utterly devastating."
Marston’s defence team said he suffered anxiety and depression and had suffered a relapse having previously made progress overcoming his 20-year alcohol and drug addiction.