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Witnesham drink-driver who killed Ben Fulcher in Coddenham crash admits careless driving – and warned he faces jail

PUBLISHED: 13:03 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:03 02 January 2018

Floral tributes left to Ben Fulcher. Picture: ARCHANT

Floral tributes left to Ben Fulcher. Picture: ARCHANT

A drink driver who caused the death of his front-seat passenger in a car crash has been warned that a prison sentence is “inevitable” when he is sentenced later this week.

Before Ipswich Crown Court today (Tuesday, January 2) for a plea and trial preparation hearing was Josh Caines, 23, of Upper Street, Witnesham.

He pleaded guilty to causing the death of Ben Fulcher by careless driving, while over the prescribed alcohol limit, in Coddenham on October 15, 2016.

Adjourning sentence until 2pm on Friday, Judge Rupert Overbury told Caines: “It is inevitable you will receive a custodial sentence on Friday.

“You are now 23 so it will be a prison sentence, the length of which will be determined on Friday.

“Please don’t be under any illusion as to what is going to happen. You need to prepare yourself for that.”

Judge Overbury made an interim driving ban and said the length of the ban would be determined at the sentencing hearing.

Steven Dyble, for Caines, said he was not asking for the case to be adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on his client.

Members of Mr Fulcher’s and Caines’ families were present during the plea hearing and sat in separate seating areas on opposite sides of the courtroom.

An earlier hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Fulcher, 21, from Needham Market, died following a single-vehicle collision near a bridge on the B1078, Church Road.

Police were called at 11.10am on Saturday, October 15 to reports a red Mini had left the road. They arrived to find the vehicle in a ditch.

Mr Fulcher, who was the only passenger in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement issued by Suffolk Constabulary after the crash, Mr Fulcher’s family paid tribute to a “wonderful son, brother, uncle and grandson” and said they were “devastated” by their loss.

A spokesperson for Direct Line Group, the firm for which Mr Fulcher worked in Princes Street, said: “Ben was a popular, highly-valued colleague and will be missed by all those who worked with him.”

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