Felixstowe drink driver to be sentenced

DANGEROUS driver Peter Whalley, who mowed down a teenager while more than twice over the drink-drive limit, will this week find out his fate.Felixstowe businessman Whalley is set to return to crown court for sentencing – and has already been warned that he could be jailed.

DANGEROUS driver Peter Whalley, who mowed down a teenager while more than twice over the drink-drive limit, will this week find out his fate.

Felixstowe businessman Whalley is set to return to crown court for sentencing – and has already been warned that he could be jailed.

He has spent a month waiting to hear his punishment after being convicted of dangerous driving when he knocked down Vicki Kelcher and on Friday will appear at Ipswich Crown Court before Recorder Neil Garnham QC.

Whalley, 35, of Princes Gardens, had denied the charge but a jury took just two hours to find him guilty.

He admitted drink-driving and has been given an interim driving ban.

Whalley, who at the time owned Bonds wine bar and currently owns the Old Millars pub and restaurant, both in Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe, had been at work on the day of the crash on December 8 last year.

Most Read

He told the trial he had drunk four pints of cider and one pint of lager with a lemonade top on an empty stomach. He said at the time he had felt fit to drive, but in hindsight realised he should not have done so.

During the evening the restaurant had run out of change and he had decided to drive home in his X reg Mercedes to get some.

Whalley told the court as he had driven along Garrison Lane, he had seen something flash across the road in front of him, causing him to veer to the left – smashing into Miss Kelcher, 17, and pinning her against the wall.

Immediately after the accident he had heard Miss Kelcher screaming and crying and had tried to pull his car away from her.

Former Deben High School pupil Miss Kelcher, who had been walking with her boyfriend Ty Freer, suffered a crushed pelvis and a broken leg and underwent lifesaving surgery at Ipswich Hospital.

She stayed in hospital 14 weeks, including a spell in the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, and had five operations and spent weeks in a frame supporting her pelvis. She has been left with a two-inch scar on her face, a tilted pelvis and a graft on her leg, and one leg longer than the other.

She still has to have regular physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions.

The accident also meant that Miss Kelcher – who lives with her parents Wendy and David in Chaucer Road – missed a term of her childcare course at Suffolk College. She managed to keep up the coursework in hospital and did well in her exams.

She has now returned for the second year of the course and hopes to work as a nursery assistant.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter