Does judge Christopher Ball really think 8 years is a fair price to pay for the death of a 17-year-old girl? Also, what kind of example does this set for others? Until judges get tougher in the courtroom we will see more murders like this one.
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:16 PM on 22nd January 2010
A young driver who mowed down and killed a 17-year-old girl after drinking 'anything he could get his hands on' has been jailed for eight years.
Ryan Ellmore, 20, downed 'vast amounts' of lager, whisky and vodka until he was 'staggering drunk' and was thrown out of the pub, a court heard.
The diabetes patient had ignored 'express warnings' by doctors not to drink after he had been prescribed the powerful drug warfarin.
But despite being obviously 'smashed', Ellmore got behind the wheel and roared off at high speed before losing control, mounting a pavement and running down pretty schoolgirl Charlotte Blackburn, 17, as she walked home with a friend.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Charlotte, who was friends with Ryan, died almost immediately as she was struck in her home town of Harwich, Essex, on May 25 last year.
Ellmore, an electric engineer, ran away from the scene of the crash before returning and begging friends not to call the police.
After he was arrested later at home, he fell over at the police station and had to hold on to a table to keep his balance.
Tests showed he was 'well above' the legal drink drive limit, and also had traces of cannabis in his body.
The court heard he had he had been driving at almost twice the 30mph speed limit before tha crash. His driving licence had lapsed because he had not sent off medical forms about his diabetes to the DVLA.
Judge Christopher Ball QC sentenced him to serve eight years in a young offenders' institute and banned him from driving for eight years.
He said: 'The courts are only too familiar with having to grapple with the tragedies of these kind of incidents where innocent people have their lives snatched away from them by momentary acts of madness.
'Judges are left saying, "Why won't the young listen? Why must they drive so fast? Why must they drink? Why must they take drugs?"
'They don't listen so these tragedies keep happening.'
The court heard Ellmore, from Harwich, had been warned by his consultant not to drink after he was admitted to hospital for renal failure and he was also told he must test his blood sugar levels before driving.
Prosecutor Samantha Leigh told the court there was no evidence Ellmore had tested himself before driving and had lied to friends that he was now allowed to drink.
She said Ellmore drank 'vast amounts of alcohol' at the pub before being thrown out for 'aggressive behaviour'.
She said: 'The defendant was said to have drunk various shots, vodka and Redbull, Jack Daniels and coke, anything he could get his hands on.
'Selfish': diabetic Ryan Ellmore had downed 'vast amounts' of lager and spirits before climbing behind the wheel 'He was described as being "smashed, staggering around" and "staggering drunk" ... the defendant was ejected.'
The court heard Ellmore then went and picked up his Nissan car, which was a courtesy vehicle because his own car had been in an accident, and drove back to the pub where friends told him he should not be driving.
He was said to have sped off after performing a wheel spin. Minutes later, at about 1am, Ellmore came around a sweeping bend, mounted the pavement and crashed into Charlotte.
His car then ploughed into a house on the opposite side of the road and he fled, the court heard.
In March last year - just two months before killing Charlotte - Ellmore had been found drunk and asleep in his car and was later banned from driving for six months for failing to provide a breath sample, the court heard.
Ellmore, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving, showed no emotion as he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Speaking outside court, Charlotte's father Neil paid tribute to his daughter.
He said: 'Charlotte's death has had a massive and devastating impact on her family, friends and the whole community of Harwich.
'She was a beautiful, caring, fun loving and very popular girl. She had everything to live or and now we will never hear her laugh or smile again.
'Our world has been shattered and our sentence and the pain will go on forever, whereas Ellmore will be able to start his life again.'
Inspector Steve Brewer, of Essex Police, said: 'This was one of the worst crashes that we have investigated.
''Ryan Ellmore acted in a totally selfish and mindless manner. Tragically Charlotte stood no chance when she was struck by Ellmore's car.'