Drunk driver jailed for killing a taxi driver and a mother of two

|News, Driving offences

A drunk driver from Merseyside has been jailed for nine years for killing a taxi driver and his passenger, a mother of two children.

Ryan Howard
Ryan Howard

The Crown Prosecution Service said that Ryan Howard, 27, killed David Sherwin, 51 and Michelle Jennings, 35, just after 5am on 27 February 2019.

Howard had been drinking in Liverpool city centre for several hours in the lead up to the tragedy with a friend. Despite being clearly drunk, he got into his BMW car around 4.30am and started to drive home to St Helens.

He drove home over the speed limit and dangerously.

Witnesses described his driving on the East Lancashire Road as aggressive. He undertook cars and drove at speeds in excess of 75 miles per hour.

As he approached the junction with Bridgehouse Lane, the scene of the accident, the traffic lights were on red and traffic was queuing.

Instead of slowing down or stopping, Howard pulled over into the offside lane and accelerated through the red lights at speed of around 83 miles an hour.

At the same time a taxi being driven by Mr Sherwin emerged from Bridgehouse Lane, correctly proceeding through a green light. Howard’s car careered into the rear off side of the taxi.

At the sentencing hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on 27 April, 2020, the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Andrew Menary QC said: “Mr Sherwin and his passenger, Michelle Jennings, did not really stand a chance. For them it will have been as if they had been hit by a missile.”

The court heard that Howard had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood at the time of the crash.

David Sherwin had been a taxi driver for twenty years. He died around two weeks after the collision as a result of his severe injuries.

Michelle Jennings was thirty-five. She was on her way to work that morning, on the way to pick up a colleague, and despite emergency treatment at the scene and in hospital, she sadly died of her catastrophic injuries the same morning.

Ryan Howard pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving at a Plea and Trial Preparation  Hearing on 25 February 2020.

On 27 April 2020 at Liverpool Crown Court, he was sentenced to 9 years in prison for causing the deaths of David Sherwin and Michelle Jennings by dangerous driving.

District Crown Prosecutor Victoria Colvin, said: “Ryan Howard’s behaviour on that day was despicable. He had been drinking for several hours and was intoxicated when he made the decision to get behind the wheel of his car.

“Howard demonstrated a dangerous disregard for the rules of the road. He drove in a way that ultimately caused two innocent people to lose their lives.

“The relatives of the victims read emotional statements to the court which explained the devastating impact his actions on that night have had on them. Two families’ lives have been changed forever as a result of Howard’s appalling and inexcusable actions.

“This tragic case is yet another illustration of the devastating consequences that drinking and driving can have. To get behind the wheel of a car when you are under the influence of drink or drugs is totally unacceptable.

“The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank the families of the victims and the witnesses for their help  in bringing this prosecution and would also like to extend condolences to the victims’ families at this very difficult time.”

Further reading