Drink drive brother jailed for causing death of his sister after his van crashed into the River Nene

09:08 12 March 2014

Natalie Scotchford.

Natalie Scotchford.

Archant

A man has been jailed for causing the death of his sister in an accident which saw the van they were travelling in crash into the River Nene.

At an earlier hearing, Nathan Scotchford, 23, of Daintree Road, Ramsey St Mary’s, pleaded guilty to the offence of causing death by driving without due care and attention while over the alcohol limit.

On Tuesday at Peterborough Crown Court he was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

He was also disqualified from driving for two years with the requirement to take another driving test before he can be allowed back on the road.

The court heard that Scotchford and his sister Natalie, 19, of Blenheim Road, Ramsey, were out socialising in the town before he decided to drive her home.

Edward Renvoize, prosecuting, said that Scotchford had “overcompensated” after hitting a verge, steering his van into the path of oncoming traffic and into the river.

Witnesses called the emergency services at 3.58am after seeing the van hit the water. The court heard that Scotchford tried to rescue his sister. The emergency services arrived at 4.15am and threw him a line.

Mr Renvoize said: “His concern was for his sister and he insisted that the emergency services did everything they could to extricate her.”

Rescue workers were able to free Miss Scotchford from the overturned vehicle. However, the beauty therapist was taken to Peterborough City Hospital where she died soon afterwards.

The court heard that Scotchford gave a reading of 61 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

James Macwhirter, mitigating, said: “He was a thoroughly decent, hard-working young man who is a credit to his parents and those members of his family who appear in court today.

“He will carry the responsibility for his beloved Natalie’s death for the remainder of his life.”

Sentencing, Judge Patrick O’Brien said a suspended sentence, as requested by the defence, would send out the wrong message .

“[I want to] ensure we won’t have more young people with cars driving relations and friends when they have had far too much to drink for it to be safe for them to do so,” he said.

“That would be the message that would go out if this simply went unpunished.”

Scotchford was also ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge.

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