Driver, 46, who downed four-and-a-half pints of cider and a Jack Daniel’s before mowing down and killing his friend as the mother-of-four crossed the road is jailed for four years
- Jason Mitchell was celebrating his late father’s 80th birthday at pub with friends
- He offered to have friends back to his house in Osett, Yorkshire for more fun
- But he hit Melissa Whittington, 32, on the half-mile journey home on July 14 2017
- He admitted drinking pints, whiskey and coke and taking cocaine and was jailed
Jason Mitchell, 46, was yesterday jailed for causing death by dangerous driving after killing mother-of-four Melissa Whittington, 32, in Yorkshire on July 14 last year
A drunk-driver who downed four-and-a-half pints of cider and a Jack Daniel’s before killing a mother-of-two in his Audi A5 has been jailed for four years.
Jason Mitchell, 46, was at the pub in Osett, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire celebrating what would have been his late father’s birthday on July 14 last year.
He offered to have friends back to his house for more food and drink, but pub-goers saw he was visibly drunk and was slurring his words.
He claimed he was just moving his company car to make way for a pub delivery the next morning, but when a friend got in with him, they set off on the half-mile journey home.
His trial at Leeds Crown Court heard he reached speeds of 69mph before he struck down mother-of-four Melissa Whittington, 32, as she was crossing the road and killed her.
Mitchell, who had a previous drink-driving conviction from 2010, was jailed yesterday.
The court heard Ms Whittington and her partner Mark Blackburn were among the crowd Mitchell had invited to come back to his house.
After leaving the Brewers Pride, she walked back because she realised she had forgotten her keys.
She was crossing a road when she was hit by Mitchell’s Audi at around 10pm.
The hearing was told Mitchell parked his car at his house, which was very near the scene of the crash, before returning and shouting to police: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I have done this. I know her.’
Melissa Whittington, 32, is pictured with her partner Mark Blackburn, who had been out with her on the night of her death
Mrs Whittington was struck by the front of the car and collided with the windscreen before landing on the road. She suffered fatal injuries, the court heard.
Mitchell pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving after being found to be over twice the drink-drive limit and testing positive for cocaine.
Prosecuting, Heather Gilmore read a letter in court written by Mrs Whittington’s 12-year-old daughter Layla, on behalf of her brothers and sister.
She said: ‘How can we explain the impact the loss of our mum had had on our lives?
‘Our mum was everything to us. She was beautiful inside and out and she always put a smile on everyone’s faces.
‘She was our guiding light. We will always remember our trips to the seaside.
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‘We cannot build on the memories we have of our mum. We can only remember the ones we have.’
The court heard Mitchell had initially planned to get a lift home from his partner, Laura Stubbs, but he changed his mind.
Mitigating, Tom Gent said: ‘This is the most tragic of cases and one that has destroyed a number of lives.
‘The defendant wholly accepts responsibility and is wracked with guilt. He realises there is nothing he can say or do to take away the pain.’
Mitchell had been suffering from anxiety and depression at the time of the incident following the death of his father and a fire which gutted his mother’s home, a court heard.
He said: ‘It is clear that his mental health had deteriorated significantly and he had turned to the use of cocaine as a crutch,’ added
‘He struggles to see how he deserves to live when Melissa has been killed.’
Jailing Mitchell, Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl, QC, said: ‘I accept that your remorse is genuine. But none of that will bring her back.’
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