Car salesman 'drove like nutter' and killed Yorkshire grandmother in head-on crash after cocaine binge

A motor trader killed a grandmother in a head-on crash as he drove "like a nutter" as he raced to work in his high-powered car after a cocaine and booze binge.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 5:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 6:39 pm
Craig Terry was locked up for eight and a half years after Leeds Crown Court he had spent the night drinking heavily and taking cocaine before causing the death of Wendie Mcdonald

Craig Terry was locked up for eight and a half years today for causing the death of 78-year-old Wendie McDonald.

Terry caused the collision as he raced along Cooper Bridge Road, Mirfield, at around 90mph as he was late for work.

He had spent the previous night drinking heavily and taking cocaine.

Craig Terry was locked up for eight and a half years after Leeds Crown Court he had spent the night drinking heavily and taking cocaine before causing the death of Wendie Mcdonald

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Witnesses to the collision described how they thought Terry's Audi S5 must have been stolen because of the erratic way in which it was being driven.

Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, said Terry, 44, was working as a salesman at Ashbrow Garage, Huddersfield, at the time of the incident in August last year.

The court heard Terry finished work on August 10 and went out drinking with a friend.

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He went to two pubs where he drank around six pints of cider, a pint of lager and took a line of cocaine.

Terry, of Leeds Road, Mirfield, continued drinking red wine when he returned home and fell asleep on the sofa.

He woke up late for work the next morning and decided to drive to work.

Mr Sharp said: "Any belief that he was OK to drive should not have survived his attempt to drive away from his home address.

"He reversed his Audi S5 and collided with his neighbour's car, causing a significant dent in the door.

"However, he did not stop and instead drove off."

Terry stopped at a garage on the way to work to buy cigarettes and was seen inspecting the damage to his own car.

He drove off and was struggling to stay in lane.

Witnesses described how he took a bend on Cooper Bridge Road at up to 90mph and lost control.

One driver who witnessed the incident said to his passenger: "Look at the speed of that idiot."

Terry crashed head-on into a Peugeot 108 being driven by Steven McDonald. His wife, Wendie, was the front seat passenger.

The Peugeot was forced 18 metres back up the road from the impact and Terry's Audi spun through 180 degrees, hitting another vehicle.

Two other witnesses described Terry's driving as "lunacy" and "utter madness".

Mr McDonald, 61, was able to get out of the car despite suffering multiple rib fractures and chest injuries.

Mrs McDonald, a grandmother of six, was unable to get out.

She was trapped in the car for around 30 minutes before being rescued by firefighters.

Mrs McDonald suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead later that morning in hospital.

Terry stayed at the scene. He had a mobile phone on him but did not use it to contact emergency services, instead using it to have a conversation with someone else.

Mr Sharp said Terry smelled strongly of alcohol at the scene of the crash and his speech was slurred.

He said: "He was challenged about the fact that he smelled of drink and asked if he had been drinking: his answer was 'not today.'"

He lit a cigarette at the scene despite being told not to because of the danger from fluids leaking from both cars.

A breath test later showed he was more than twice the legal legal limit for alcohol. A test for cocaine was also positive.

A small wrap of cocaine was also found in Terry's wallet.

Terry pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and possessing cocaine.

A victim statement was read to the court on behalf of Mr McDonald in which he described his devastation at losing his wife.

He said: "That was the day that changed my life.

"When my beloved wife Wendie was taken away from me.

"The actions of the driver that morning were the actions of a complete nutter.

"There are no words that describe my loss, just utter devastation."

Frida Hussain, mitigating, said Terry had no previous convictions and was a hard-working family man.

She described his actions as being out of character.

She said: "Taking that decision to drive has caused devastation and he has to live with that for the rest of his days."

Jailing Terry, Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: "It is clear to me that when you got in to your car that morning you must have known that you were unfit to drive.

"The consequences of your criminality have quite simply devastated the McDonald family.

"The sentence I impose on you is not intended to reflect the value of a life. No sentence can do that. Life is precious beyond measure."