Drunk driver downed homemade wine before killing pensioner while attempting 'dangerous' manoeuvre

Gary Cornwall was jailed for just four years and eight months for causing death by dangerous driving, after he hit and killed David Evans, 72, who was walking along a footpath
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A drunk driver downed homemade wine then killed a pensioner when he mounted the kerb and smashed into him in a defective car.

Gary Cornwall, 57, dangerously sped out of junction and smashed into the pedestrian as he walked along the path. David Evans, 72, was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Cornwall was twice over the drink-drive limit at the time of the crash. When he was arrested, Cornwall said he drank homemade wine the night before and hadn’t realised he was over the alcohol limit.

At Lewes Crown Court on Monday (26 June) he was jailed for four years and eight months after previously admitting causing death by dangerous driving. Cornwall, from St Leonards, also had a previous conviction for drug-driving in 2015 and was disqualified from driving for six years and four months.

"Reckless" Cornwall was "out of control"

David Evans was walking on the pavement in St Leonards, East Sussex, when he was struck by the “out of control” BMW just before 10am on 16 June last year. The vehicle did not have any working power steering, anti-lock brakes, and had illegal worn down tyres.

Witnesses described the "dangerous" manoeuvre by Cornwall as "reckless" and "out of control". Some heard the tyres screeching as Cornwall left the junction and appeared to be drifting in the road.

Cornwall denies drifting in the car

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His black car with green alloy wheels was seen smashed into a lamppost with all four wheels on the pavement. When he was arrested, Cornwall said he drank homemade wine the night before and hadn’t realised he was over the alcohol limit.

He failed a roadside breath test and at a police station more than an hour and half later, he tested positive for 68 microgrammes (mcg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

Cornwall denied intentionally drifting but admitted to intentionally accelerating sharply out of the junction, police said. Investigators found serious defects on the vehicle, which meant it was considered to be in a “dangerous” condition, including tyre treads below legal limit of 1.6mm on the rear wheels.

Family say David Evans death has been "devastating"

Judge Jeremy Gold KC sentencing Cornwall said he carried out an “inherently dangerous manoeuvre”. The family of Mr Evans, who was from nearby Hastings, described him as a “kind and selfless” man and said the impact of his death has been “devastating”.

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Speaking after the case, Mr Evans’s family said in a statement: “David was a dear brother, brother-in-law, uncle and great uncle, and the impact of his death on our family has been devastating. It is very difficult for us to comprehend the fact that David was fatally injured whilst walking on the pavement.

“But the hardest part as a family is living with the grief of knowing that our kind selfless David was taken away from us from one reckless action of an individual which could have been so easily avoided.”

Detective Constable Greg Brown, from Sussex Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said Cornwall should not have been on the road. He added: “Cornwall was in no fit state to drive a car, and this case shows the tragic consequences of his actions.

“By his own admission he accelerated harshly and lost control of his vehicle. He was above the legal alcohol limit, which once again reminds drivers to think carefully about driving the morning after consuming alcohol.

“Drink-driving and drug-driving are among the main factors in why people are seriously injured and killed on our roads every year.”