A hit-and-run driver who killed an NHS worker who was cycling in Liverpool has been jailed for 12 months.
Jennie Dowd (pictured), aged 31, died in hospital nine days after she was struck by 24-year-old driver Lucy Ashton in Sefton Village on the morning of Sunday 27 September last year.
Ashton, who has also been disqualified from driving for 12 months, pleaded guilty last month to causing death by careless driving and failure to stop.
The crash happened very close to the home of Ms Dowd’s father Peter Dowd, the Labour Member of Parliament for Bootle.
Speaking in court ahead of Ashton being sentenced, he said: “On the Sunday morning she was knocked down, I could hear emergency services’ sirens and I could hear a helicopter close by, breaking the silence of that quiet morning.
“Little did I know they were on their way to help Jennie, who lay dying in the road just 100 yards from where I live.
“The idea that I was just a minute away from where she had been knocked down, deserted and left alone by the driver, injured and dying has stayed with me ever since.”
He continued: “The room where she was born at Aintree Hospital and the room in which she died on the same hospital site was just 300 yards away.
“But that short journey belied the real limitless journey between her birth and death,” he added, saying that his daughter had lived “a life packed out with giving which had such a positive effect on so many other people’s lives.”
Merseyside Police Roads Policing Inspector Stuart McIver said: “This is a heart-breaking case in which Jennie, a beloved wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, friend and colleague, lost her life due to the carelessness of Ashton.
“No sentence could begin to reverse the pain that Jennie’s family and friends have suffered since, but hopefully this verdict brings some healing and sense of justice.
“That Ashton chose to abandon the scene of this collision, essentially leaving Jennie for dead, is a decision she will have to live with as she serves her sentence.
“I would implore anyone who drives a car or other vehicle on our roads to be considerate of all other road users,” he added.
“This collision, like so many, was an avoidable tragedy which has devastated so many people.”
In a victim impact statement, Ms Dowd’s wife, Samantha Brighton, said: “Jennie's death is the least remarkable thing about her. I want to tell you about the impact of her love, joy, kindness and good nature on my life, before her death.
“Jennie and I met in South Africa in 2015. What are the chances of two people who lived 8,000 miles apart, finding each other and discovering they were the ones they'd always been searching for?
“We were engaged 11 months later – married three years after that. I moved my entire life from South Africa to nest with Jennie in Liverpool, a city I now proudly call home.
“In this time, Jennie held me, supported me, lifted me up and championed me in every way. She had an innate ability to make you see yourself through her beautiful green eyes.
“Jennie challenged me to be the best version of myself, while also accepting me and others just as we are. What a skill.”
She continued: “I never saw myself as a mother. Jennie changed that. Jennie made me see all the love I, we, together, had to give.
“Just two days before the accident, Jennie and I had picked our sperm donor and booked our first round of IVF treatment to hopefully start a family of our own.”
Just five days before Ms Dowd was killed, she had passed an interview for a job in the NHS Transformation Unit, which helps form the future direction of NHS Trusts throughout the country.
Ms Brighton added: “She was ambitious but always humble and incredibly hardworking. I for one was not surprised she got the job. She was so excited about this new chapter and I was so incredibly proud of her.
“I cannot begin to detail the magnificent work she did and the exemplary care she applied to her delivery, every single day.
“I think of all the great work she would have done, the lives she would have changed, the even greater mark she would have left on this world had she still been with us today.
“So here I stand today with this,” she added. “Two wedding rings instead of one, wedding photos that make me cry, a house that's too big for just me, dwindling hopes for creating my own family, fewer reasons to laugh, gratitude for Jennie's family who've welcomed me with open arms, longing for my own family back home.
“Most of all I'm left with an immense grief. I grieve for the life we had planned. Married for only 18 months, we deserved so much more.
“We worked so hard to build this life, one which celebrated our love, but we were robbed. There is no way to rectify this tragic situation.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.