A drink-driver, who caused the death of a young woman in a crash, has had his prison sentence increased at the Court of Appeal today (Tuesday 20 April) after judges felt his initial jail term was unduly lenient.
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 31 July 2019, at the junction of Hayes Park Road and Northmead Road. It’s believed Shaw was driving at twice the 30mph limit at the time.
Jenny, who would have turned 21 two months later, was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.
During the investigation, police discovered Shaw had been driving at approximately 105mph in Midsomer Norton in the minutes leading up to the fatal crash.
Shaw, of Walnut Grove in Shepton Mallet, was jailed in January for 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 2020 when he was involved in a collision with another vehicle on the A371.
Jenny’s family subsequently appealed against the length of sentence saying it was insufficient, while Shaw also appealed against it claiming it was too severe.
At today’s hearing in London, judges agreed to quash the original prison term and instead sentenced Shaw to a total of eight years and nine months imprisonment – an increase of 16 months. They felt the gravity of Shaw’s offending warranted an increased sentence.
Shaw will be disqualified from driving for nine years upon his release from prison, as per the original sentence.
Collision investigation officer Dai Nicholas said: “Matthew Shaw was found to be more than one-and-a-half times over the legal alcohol limit when he crashed his Audi into Jenny Sell’s car. He will need to learn to live with the consequences of his deadly and dangerous actions for the rest of his life.
“We welcome the judges’ decision today and hope it acts as a warning to other people who wrongly think it’s acceptable to drink and drive. Getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol can destroy the lives of so many people.
“My thoughts and sympathies go out to Jenny’s family who have had to try to come to terms with what has happened. They have shown incredible courage throughout this emotional court process.”