Family anger over drink-driver’s sentence after fatal crash

Sam Bailey was jailed on Friday. Photo by Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Sam Bailey was jailed on Friday. Photo by Avon and Somerset Constabulary - Credit: Archant

The family of a Clevedon woman who was killed in a crash caused by a drink-driver going through a red light, have slammed his ‘joke’ sentence, as he could be released from jail in little more than three years despite having seven double whiskies in a 10-hour binge before getting behind the wheel.

Melanie Miles, aged 42, died at the scene in Bristol on June 15, having been knocked off her moped.

Sam Bailey, aged 29, was three times over the legal alcohol limit.

Judge William Hart jailed him for six years – and handed him a further four-month prison term for breaching an unrelated suspended sentence.

But Ms Miles’ brother, Matthew Bryant, slammed the sentence.

Speaking outside Bristol Crown Court on Friday, he said: “The way Bailey took away Mel and the injuries he caused her was nothing short of horrific.

“The sentence means he will be out in three years and two months and it will never bring back the most sensitive, caring and loving sister, daughter and wife that anyone could ask for.

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“In a few short years he will get his life back but the pain and grief we have to live with will go on for decades.”

Mr Bryant was accompanied by his brothers Anthony and Craig, their mother Theresa and Miss Miles’s partner Michelle.

He added: “The sentence was far too lenient. It is a joke someone can take someone else’s life in a drunken stupor and just get six years and four months’ imprisonment and be out in three years and two months.

“It’s disgraceful, it really is. It just seems you can get away with anything now.

“You take a life and you get six years. It’s wrong.”

Richard Posner, prosecuting, told the court that Bailey had stayed out until 4.45am after watching football and going to a casino.

By the time he got into his uninsured van, he had drunk seven double whiskies and cokes, lager and cider.

Bailey jumped the lights and hit Miss Miles’s moped as she crossed the Three Lamps junction on green. He was estimated to be travelling at 40mph.

At a previous hearing, Bailey, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by driving a vehicle which was uninsured and driving when above the alcohol limit.

He was also in breach of a suspended eight-month prison sentence when found in possession of a small quantity of cocaine in March this year.

Bailey was also convicted of drink-driving and banned from the road in December 2012. He also has a previous conviction for using a mobile phone while driving.

Tabitha Macfarlane, defending, said: “At the age of 18 he had the world at his feet with a professional contract with Bristol City. He started to drink and gamble and he lost that opportunity some time ago. He has drunk and gambled to excess.

“He would ask me to say sorry to the family of Melanie Miles, although that seems trite and hollow. He really can’t believe what he has done.”

Judge Hart jailed Bailey for six years for killing Miss Miles, and for four months consecutively due to his suspended sentence breach.

Bailey will be banned from driving for five years, once released from prison.

Judge Hart, addressing Bailey, said: “It was a conscious decision to drive almost three times the limit and without insurance.

“You drove knowing you were drunk.

“You made a deliberate choice to drive through those red lights – ignoring the rules of the road. You must have known the great risk to any motorist at that junction your actions posed and you took it.”

Miss Miles died days before she and Michelle were due to celebrate the seventh anniversary of their civil partnership ceremony.