Family remember 'head of close-knit family' after banned driver jailed

PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 31 May 2019

Joan Woodier

Joan Woodier

police

The family of a 90-year-old grandmother killed by a banned driver say they remain 'haunted' by her death.

Tracy Bibby was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court. Picture: Avon and Somerset ConstabularyTracy Bibby was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Tracy Bibby was jailed on Friday for four years for being behind the wheel of a van which careered into the home of Joan Woodier in Clevedon last year, but she could be released in just two years' time.

Bibby, of Rushmoor, fervently denied she was the driver of the van which crashed in Yeolands Drive, but jurors found her guilty of dangerous driving while banned on May 20.

Mrs Woodier, who was described by presiding judge Michael Cullum as being the 'head of four generations of a close-knit family', was on the phone to her son Alan when Bibby crashed.

Mr Woodier said: "April 18, 2018 will never be forgotten. I cannot get out of my mind the indescribable noise on the phone followed by deathly silence.

The van 'embedded' in the side of Joan Woodier's home. Picture: Avon and Somerset ConstabularyThe van 'embedded' in the side of Joan Woodier's home. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

"In the days which followed, day-to-day life became a blur, our first task as a family was to formally identify mum's body,

"We were advised the injuries she sustained were so severe the police recommended a non-direct family member to identify her.

"My wife Shirley bravely volunteered to do this on behalf of the family, this is an action which has haunted her ever since."

Bibby had been swerving the van back and forth on her way home from the Crab Apple pub while 'pretending to be a racing car driver who was warming up the tyres'.

One of Mrs Woodier's family found a bag of cocaine at the scene. Bibby was driving while disqualified after being caught driving under the influence of cannabis two years ago.

Jodie Cobb, Mrs Woodier's granddaughter, said: "As a family we are united in grief for the sudden and tragic loss of our beloved mum and nan.

"She was a kind and caring individual who faced many challenging times during her life but she always faced them with a true sense of determination, courage and strength which many of her generation did."

Mrs Cobb said there is a 'huge gap' in her life without her weekly catch-up with her grandmother.

She added: "We have struggled to come to terms with it. I envisaged we would have all had a chance to say our goodbyes while sat around her bedside.

"I went to the funeral director and asked to have the casket opened so I could say goodbye to my nan.

"He told me 'I have been in the business for 30 years and this is the worst I have ever seen.

"I had to say goodbye through a closed casket."

Bibby was ordered to serve a four-year custodial sentence, which included a 12-month concurrent sentence for driving while disqualified, but was told she could be out in two years on good behaviour.

The 35-year-old will be disqualified from driving for six years upon release.

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