Footage shows the arrest of a driver a police officer described the “drunkest person” he’s ever seen behind the wheel – moments after he’d ploughed into two pedestrians.
One of Malcolm Waite’s victims, 20-year-old Fenella Hawes, died after she was struck by Waite, who was more than three times the legal limit. PC Callum Walchester, the arresting officer, said Waite was the drunkest driver he had encountered in 10 years of service.
The bodycam footage of the arrest, played at Norwich Crown Court, shows Waite, 68, asked repeatedly when the last time he’d had any alcohol. His answers are incoherent and he is unable to provide a breath test.
So Waite is arrested in the clip and was later taken into custody on Sunday, July 31.
The defendant, who had been driving his Lexus RX SUV at speed in Stalham, Norfolk, and mounted the pavement where he collided with Fenella and a teenage girl.
Waite was jailed for eight years on Friday, Lancs Live reports.
Speaking before sentencing, PC Walchester said: “I’ve been a PC for 10 years and worked in roads policing for almost six years, and he was the drunkest person I have ever seen behind the wheel of a car.”
Waite, who is from Hoveton, Norfolk, admitted causing death by dangerous driving.
But the pensioner didn’t stop his car after hitting Fenella and the teenage girl, and instead continued along the A149 for another mile.
His car finally stopped after colliding with a road sign, trees and shrubbery on the verge of the road.
He finally gave a breath test at Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre, recorded at 120 micrograms of alcohol in his breath. Officers, though, calculated this would have been approximately 158 micrograms if taken at the roadside after the crash.
The legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres.
The police investigation found that Waite’s vehicle was not faulty, and the weather and road conditions were clear and fine. During police interviews, he answered no comment to every question.
Fenella was a student at Lancaster University and was back at home in Norfolk for the summer.
In her victim personal statement, Fenella’s mother Margaret said: “Every day I sob, when I wake up, throughout the day at random times with seemingly no reason and when I go to bed at night. I picture her walking along, so happy carrying sunflowers for me and then being hit by the car.
“I sob because I will never see Fenella again, I will never see her radiant smile or hear her laugh, I will never talk with her about her day or about her plans for the future, I will never help cheer her up when she is sad or gossip with her, I will never go on long walks with her again…I will never be able to sit with her in front of our fire…it will never be the same again.
“I sob for the future that she doesn’t have because a drunken man chose to get into a car, knowing that this was a weapon that could kill someone, and indeed it did it killed my 20-year-old daughter. She was a young adult beginning her life and her bright future was taken out in a few seconds because of someone who did not think or did not care. I sob because she was so happy: she was so lovely inside and out she was so alive and now she isn’t here, and never will be again. I never had a chance to say goodbye.”
The second victim, a 16-year-old girl, suffered cuts and bruising.
Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector David McCormack, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Norfolk Police, said: “This is a tragedy, and it was wholly avoidable. I implore anyone who thinks it is okay to have a drink and then drive, please remember the heart-breaking and devastating consequences of drink-driving so evident in this case. Waite’s decision to drink and drive has changed lives forever.
“The teenage girl who, together with Fenella, was just walking home from work that day is traumatised by what has happened. Waite will have to live the rest of his life in the knowledge he has taken the life of a remarkable young woman who had so much to offer and lots she wanted to achieve. He has caused so much pain to so many people.”