“We cannot forgive”: Family’s anguish as Sunderland death crash driver is jailed

Craig Bourne
Craig Bourne
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A DRINK-DRIVER who killed a woman in a 100mph crash has been jailed for more than seven years.

Former bomb disposal expert Craig Bourne drove straight into the back of a car driven by 43-year-old Jacqueline Dowdall on the A1(M) at Carrville, Durham City.

Road crash victim Jacqueline Dowdall

Road crash victim Jacqueline Dowdall

Durham Crown Court heard the impact catapulted Ms Dowdall’s Fiat Panda from about 45mph to nearly 90mph, killing her instantly.

In what is believed to be the first use of the new Victims’ Code introduced on Tuesday, Ms Dowdall’s sister Angela Shipley read a family statement to the court.

“Everything has changed and all the enjoyment has been ripped from our lives,” said Ms Shipley. “We cry every night for Jacqueline and none of us sleep well.

“We panic if we cannot contact each other, or if one of us is late.

“Jacqueline was neither drunk, drugged, nor tired, she was just making her way to her secure and well-paid job.

“Bourne has taken a life from us and he should be made to understand what he has done. We cannot forgive him.”

The court heard Bourne had not slept for 21 hours when he left his girlfriend’s home in Hurworth, near Darlington, in the early hours to drive home to Washington.

He struck Ms Dowdall’s car as she was making her way to work as an accountant for Asda in Washington from her home in Coxhoe, County Durham.

Another driver on the A1(M) reported seeing Bourne’s Kia Sorrento driving at about 100mph and weaving from side to side.

Prosecutor Tim Gittins said: “There were no skid marks or evidence of avoiding action.

“Crash investigators calculated the impact speed as no less than 100mph.

“Bourne was breathalysed two hours later and found to be just over twice the legal limit.

“He had also taken prescribed anti-depressants which have a possible side effect of causing drowsiness when combined with alcohol.

“The prosecution say there is a likelihood he fell asleep.”

Bourne, 31, of Rushyrigg, Blackfell, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol, both on April 7.

Chris Knox, defending, said in mitigation Bourne was regretful and remorseful.

“He does have a psychiatric condition from his military service, but he does not seek to use that to excuse what he did.”

Judge Christopher Prince jailed Bourne for seven years and four months.

The judge told him: “You chose to career along the A1 at grossly excessive speed, knowing full well you were intoxicated by drink and drugs.

“You showed flagrant disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of others.”

Bourne was banned from driving for five years.

Ms Dowdall’s three sisters, brother and father were in court,

They said afterwards they were happy with the length of the sentence.