Speeding drink-driver jailed for fatal M4 crash
A drink-driver who caused a fatal crash at speeds of more than 100mph on the M4 in Berkshire has been jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Christopher Lockwood, 31, struck Patricia Hesser-Young's Land Rover near Membury Services in June 2009.
He hit it with such force it fell down an embankment, hitting a tree. The woman, of Oxon, died four months later.
Lockwood, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, had earlier admitted causing death by dangerous driving.
Reconstruction evidence showed Mrs Hesser-Young, 63, had been driving at 54mph while Lockwood had been driving at about 104mph at the point of collision.
Reading Crown Court was told he had been drinking heavily at a 30th birthday party in Reading in the hours before the crash.
Life support withdrawn
He was found to be three-and-a-half times over the legal drink-drive limit, which the judge described as a "grossly excessive level of alcohol".
Mrs Hesser-Young, a mother-of-three from Sonning Common, suffered "catastrophic injuries", including a fractured skull, in the crash on the westbound carriageway, a mile from Membury Services, early in the morning of 28 June.
She died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on 4 October 2009 after life support was withdrawn.
A post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death to be a severe head injury.
She had been on her way to work at the Royal Mail in Swindon.
Mrs Hesser-Young's son Campbell Elder said: "She was a grandmother and a mother and a friend to many people and he took her from us.
"No sentence will ever be long enough.
"Because he took the choice to drive he killed our mother. That was shocking, absolutely shocking."
Sgt Paul Coleman, of Thames Valley Police, said: "Christopher Lockwood made a conscious decision to drive home after a night out drinking.
"He was clearly in no fit state to drive, yet drove at dangerously high speeds along a motorway.
"As a result of his thoughtless actions, a family has lost a much loved mother.
"I would like to thank all of them for their patience and assistance throughout our investigation.
"They have acted with the utmost dignity during what has been a very difficult time for them."
Lockwood, who worked for Vodafone in Newbury at the time and lived at Tuke Walk, Swindon, has since moved to Etruria Road in Basford, Stoke-on-Trent.