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Drink driver who drove at 105mph jailed for killing young woman

Matthew Shaw
Matthew Shaw

A drink driver who admitted causing the death of a 20-year-old woman has been jailed.

Matthew Shaw, 35, drove his Audi A5 through a red light in Midsomer Norton before colliding head on with Jenny Sell’s Honda Jazz on a single carriageway bridge on 31 July 2019.

Jenny, who would have turned 21 two months later, tragically died at the scene.

Jenny Sell

Shaw, of Walnut Grove, Shepton Mallet, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court today (20 January) to six years and eight months after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving when above the legal alcohol limit and failing to comply with a drugs test.

He was also given nine months in prison to run consecutively for taking a vehicle without consent on 4 November last year. In this incident Shaw took the vehicle without consent and was later involved in a collision with another vehicle on the A371.

On his release from prison he will be disqualified from driving for nine years.

The Midsomer Norton incident happened at about 10.30pm at the junction of Hayes Park Road and Northmead Road.

Shaw was arrested after failing a roadside breath test and was later found to have 54mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath – more than one and half times the legal limit.

Data downloaded from his Audi indicated it was also travelling at twice the 30mph limit when the collision happened.

An app on Shaw’s passenger’s mobile phone recorded the journey taken prior to the collision. It showed he drove from New Street in Wells to Northmead Road in Midsomer Norton where the collision happened in 12 minutes – travelling at a top speed of 105mph.

When a police officer recreated the journey on a different day driving within the relevant speed limits it took them 22 minutes.

Shaw’s car following the collision

During today’s hearing, Judge Hart said Shaw killed Jenny “by folly and thoughtlessness and blatant disregard to the rules of the road”.

In a statement, Jenny’s parents, Colin Sell and Janice Gibbons, said: “To say that our lives have been devastated is a huge understatement.

“Jenny’s death has left a massive hole in so many people’s lives.

“She was taken from us by one individual’s selfish, reckless actions and by his actions he has given us, her parents, a lifetime sentence of grief.

“Jenny was a special girl who had everything to live for.

“She was a beautiful person inside and out and there is not a single minute of every day that she is not thought of by us, her family and friends.

“So little time to shine, but shine she did.”

Collision investigation officer Dai Nicholas said: “This was a tragic and completely avoidable incident in which a young woman sadly lost her life.

“I hope this case serves as a reminder to anyone who might think about getting behind the wheel of vehicle after drinking alcohol of the awful consequences their decision could have.

“Our thoughts continue to be with Jenny’s family at this difficult time.”