The family of a “wonderful” dad-of five killed by a drunk paramedic while cycling home from a barbecue have told of their hope that new sentencing powers will act as a “tougher deterrent” to others.
His car veered onto the opposite side of the road and collided with Mr Goodwin's pedal cycle on a road between Ottringham and Patrington in East Yorkshire.
Woodruff, from Withernsea, had drunk around ten pints of Guinness when he decided to go to a house party seven miles away on 26 June 2021.
Woodruff admited death by dangerous driving
Ignoring his wife’s pleas and evading her attempts to stop him, he walked round the corner to where their car was parked, and drove away at around 8.45pm.
Mr Goodwin, who was correctly attired and clearly visible, was cycling home along the A1033.
He had been to a friend’s barbeque in the village of Coniston. Woodruff was travelling at about 60mph in the opposite direction in a Nissan Juke.
Between the villages of Ottringham and Patrington, he was witnessed driving dangerously close to the car ahead of him, leaving only an estimated half a second gap between the two vehicles.
He tried to overtake, narrowly avoided hitting an oncoming vehicle, swerved and hit Mr Goodwin on his bicycle, killing him instantly.
Woodruff’s car travelled down a verge, over a ditch and hurtled through trees and undergrowth, before coming to rest in the front garden of a nearby cottage.
Nearly three hours later in hospital, Woodruff’s blood alcohol level was still twice the drink-drive limit.
Woodruff pleaded guilty to causing Mr Goodwin’s death by dangerous driving.
He was sentenced to five years and four months at Hull Crown Court, disqualified from driving for five years extended by two years and eight months, and ordered to take an extended re-test.
‘We are destined to live out our own life sentence’
Speaking of their devastating loss, Richard Goodwin’s family said: “Firstly we would like to thank Humberside Police for their diligent work over the last year, with special mention to our family liaison officer Emily Green and Sarah Dewhurst, officer in charge, for the care shown towards us.
“We’d also like to thank the prosecuting barrister Jeremy Evans QC for showing genuine passion in wanting to seek justice for our dad.
“We've tried to carry ourselves with dignity and respect over this incredibly difficult year, whilst Robert Woodruff has seemingly carried on his life without showing an ounce of remorse. Whilst he now faces five years behind bars, we are destined to live out our own life sentence - life without our wonderful dad.”
New rules which came into force last month mean judges will have the power to hand down life sentences to dangerous drivers who kill and careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs. Previously, they could impose a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment for the offences.
Mr Goodwin’s family spoke of how they hoped these changes would act as a harsher deterrent to others, saying: “We hope that the changes to the death by dangerous law brought in act as a tougher deterrent in the hope that no other families suffer the pain and hurt we continue to go through every day.
“We wish to thank everyone that has supported us as we now try and move forward with our lives.”
‘He was a doting father’
Serious Collisions Unit Constable Sarah Dewhurst said: “Before I address the actions of Mr Woodruff, I would firstly like to acknowledge Richard’s family who have handled such a tragic and horrific time in their lives with courage and dignity.
“At the time of the incident Richard had been at a barbecue with friends and was cycling home when the collision occurred. He was a doting father and leaves behind a loving family including five children, sister and parents. He was a kind, caring, selfless person who will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
“I have no doubt that Richard’s family will continue to grieve for him, but in time I hope it will provide them with some comfort in knowing Robert Woodruff has been brought to justice for his selfish and reckless actions. Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.
“Time after time we continue to deal with people who think it’s okay to drive under the influence of alcohol. If you have been drinking, it is simple, do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. It really can mean the difference between life and death, not only for yourself but for innocent members of the public too.
“I would like to thank all those who assisted police with our enquiries and encourage people to report any concerns that someone may be drink or drug driving.”