Drink-driver who was double the legal limit is jailed

Liam Mansfield was sentenced to six years in prison and disqualified from driving for eight years.

Liam Mansfield was sentenced to six years in prison and disqualified from driving for eight years. - Credit: Archant

A man who was twice over the drink-drive limit when he collided head-on with another car killing the driver and injuring her passenger has been jailed.

Liam Mansfield, 27, was twice over the legal drink-drive limit when he made the decision to overtake a tractor.

He was driving his BMW on the A141 between Warboys and Chatteris at just after 10pm on August 20 last year when the incident happened. 

As he performed the overtaking manoeuvre, he mounted the offside grass verge, lost control of his vehicle and collided head-on with a Volkswagen Polo being driven by Stephanie Rivers.

The Polo was pushed backwards onto its roof and Mrs Rivers, 33, of Coronation Avenue, Warboys, died at the scene. 

Her passenger was her wife Debbie who suffered serious injuries but in her confused state was able to call the emergency services.

Officers arrived and Mansfield failed a roadside breath test, providing a reading of 75 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath – more than double the legal limit of 35 microgrammes, Cambridge Crown Court was told.

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An evidential sample of blood was taken later at hospital and revealed Mansfield had 106 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood, when the legal limit is 80 microgrammes.

Officers also discovered a small amount of cannabis in the glovebox of Mansfield’s car, while further checks revealed he was actually disqualified from driving.

Investigations concluded Mansfield had been drinking at a nearby pub in Pidley, just a few miles from the collision scene, before getting behind the wheel.

He had been in regular contact with his girlfriend throughout the day and the pair had discussed splitting up.

Mansfield, of Bottels Road, Warboys, refused the offer of a lift from his girlfriend, who thought he may be drunk. He left the pub at 9.56pm and was captured on CCTV.

He called his girlfriend via a hands-free device in the car on the way home and the call was still active at the time of the crash.

A post-mortem concluded Mrs Rivers died as a result of blunt force trauma from the collision.

A forensic collision investigation revealed Mansfield’s phone use and level of intoxication were significant factors in causing the fatal crash.

In interview, he told police he remembered being in the pub but didn’t remember anything else other than waking up in hospital.

He claimed he couldn’t remember drinking “that much” and admitted he could have got a lift home from family members.

Mansfield accepted his actions were dangerous and fell a long way below the standard of a competent and careful driver.

He admitted the cannabis was his, that he was a regular user and that he didn’t believe he was disqualified as his driving licence had been returned to him.

Mansfield later admitted causing death by dangerous driving, driving while uninsured and possessing a class B drug.

He was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on September 3 where he was handed six years in prison and disqualified from driving for eight years.

Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This is another heartbreaking case which beggars belief. Mrs Rivers would still be alive had Mansfield not decided to get behind the wheel after drinking and perform the overtaking move that he did.

“His driving was simply not good enough; he knew he had consumed alcohol but selfishly had no regard for the safety of others.

“Drink driving is illegal, dangerous and truly ruins lives. People can help us make the roads of Cambridgeshire safer for everyone by confidentially reporting others they suspect of driving while under the influence.”

The force operates a dedicated, confidential hotline for members of the public to report drink or drug driving.

The hotline: 0800 032 0845 is available 24/7, and gives people the chance to supply the police with information to help reduce the number of drink or drug drivers on the county’s roads.