Second tragedy for grieving father
A SUFFOLK drink driver is today in jail for three years, after he crashed his car into a tree killing his passenger – a second tragedy for her family.Andrew Cook had drunk four pints before he lost control of the Nissan on a bend at New Road, Worlingworth, on October 1, killing his former girlfriend Helen Green.
By Amanda Cresswell
A SUFFOLK drink driver is today in jail for three years, after he crashed his car into a tree killing his passenger - a second tragedy for her family.
Andrew Cook had drunk four pints before he lost control of the Nissan on a bend at New Road, Worlingworth, on October 1, killing his former girlfriend Helen Green.
Cook, 42, of Lodge Villas, Earl Soham, admitted death by careless driving after an accident. A blood test three hours after the crash showed 92 mg in 100 ml of breath - the legal limit is 80 mg.
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Ipswich Crown Court heard Green's death was a second tragedy for the victim's family as her sister Deborah Blaxhall, was killed by her husband who was later convicted of manslaughter, 20 years ago at the age of 25.
Miss Green gave up everything to look after her sister's two young children.
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Miss Green's father Gordon Green, from Earl Soham, said: "I have lost both my daughters now through irresponsible men."
He welcomed the sentence imposed on Cook, and said: "I feel justice has been done. But it was through his actions that my daughter died.
"My grandchildren classed her as their mum. They are getting over it now but we were very distraught because it was so unnecessary.
"Christmas meant nothing this year. We would normally have a big party but we had no Christmas tree and no decorations."
He called Cook a 'good working' man but added that he liked his drink. He vowed never to speak to him again, just as he has not spoken to his other daughter's killer.
The court heard Cook and Miss Green, 44, formed a relationship eight or nine years ago. Although they had split up, they still kept in touch.
Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said the pair arranged to meet at the Swan Inn in Worlingworth and left at 11.30 pm in Cook's Nissan Primera 2 litre GTR, which in police interview Cook described as "fast."
The court heard Cook approached a right hand bend at "excessive speed" and was unable to take the turn, despite interlocking brakes.
The speedometer read 46 to 47 mph at the point of impact, and Miss Green, who was not wearing a seatbelt, died instantly.
Two members of the public rushed to the scene, but the court heard Cook twice told them not to call the police. The emergency services arrived 40 minutes later, although the court heard the delay did not contribute to Green's death.
Lynne Shirley, mitigating, said: "It was a tragic accident and a terrible tragedy Miss Green lost her life. Cook knows it has affected her family. It is very difficult for him and his family also.
"It was a momentary lapse which took Cook across the bend and in collision with the tree. He wished he was dead too. It haunts him and probably will forever."
She told the court Cook intended to go for a drive before dropping Miss Green off home. But after the pub meeting it was clear the two were not going to get back together.
Ms Shirley said: "Cook said in police interview he was a bit het up. He wanted to get back together. Maybe because of the conversation in the pub his mind was not fully on his driving at the time."
After the accident he had called out for Miss Green but had not found her.
She said: "He wished in effect that he died too. He wished he was unconscious. It haunts him that he did not go over to Miss Green where she was and wait for the ambulance to come."
She added that Cook had been suicidal after the crash, was on anti-depressants and had time off his employment as a farmworker.
In sentencing, Judge John Devaux said: "A life was lost as a result of your decision to drink and drive. It was by all accounts an unnecessary journey. The deceased was a popular person and many people are directly affected by her death."