Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Man is jailed for killing friend in drink-drive crash

Lee William Rose
Lee Rose was in the back of the van when Daniel Isherwood crashed

A drunken driver who crashed his van down a ravine, killing his friend, has been jailed for six years.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Daniel Isherwood, 22, of Maesteg, Bridgend county, had drunk nine pints of lager when he clipped a kerb at 45mph.

His friend, Lee Rose, 21, was in the back of the van without a seat belt.

Isherwood, said to be "deeply affected" by the death, admitted causing death by careless driving in the crash early on a Sunday morning in August 2009.

Isherwood, a water treatment engineer, was also banned from driving for 10 years for the crash as around 0200 GMT on Sunday 16 August.

The court heard was he three times over the limit after drinking at a rugby club in the afternoon and a pub in the town later that evening.

Scene of the incident in Maesteg
Flowers and tributes were left at the scene of the fatal crash in Maesteg

He crashed his white Volkswagen Caddy van, which left the road and fell into the River Llynfi.

Another passenger, a 33-year-old woman, was taken to Bridgend's Princess of Wales Hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Mr Rose was pronounced dead at the scene. His parents Brian and Sharon, sister Laura, and fiancée Kristian later issued a tribute saying: "The passing of Lee has left a massive void in all our lives."

Ieuan Bennett, prosecuting, told the court that by 0200 BST on the morning of the crash, Isherwood had "consumed nine pints of lager and made the unwise decision to drive home from the pub".

Mr Bennett said: "He was doing 45mph in a 30mph zone when he hit the kerb causing the van to career off the road and into a ravine.

Cardiff Crown Court
Daniel Isherwood was three times over the drink-drive limit, the court heard

"Lee Rose was in the back of the two-seater Volkswagen van. There was no seat belt."

When police breath tested Isherwood, he gave a reading of 117 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres breath, the court heard. The legal limit is 35.

Tim Evans, defending, said his client had been deeply affected by Mr Rose's death.

He said: "At one stage he lost his will to live."

Judge Patrick Curran QC told Isherwood: "Driving that van at night grossly intoxicated you took his life away.

"There were a number of aggravating features in this case including the grossly excessive amount of alcohol."

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