Eight years for drink-driver who knocked over and killed cyclist

Melissa Darbyshire, 33, was more than double the drink driving limit when she knocked over cyclist Miroslaw Chlap and fled the scene. Credit: Cheshire Police.

A drink driver who killed a cyclist in Knutsford and then fled the scene has been jailed for eight years.

Melissa Darbyshire was found guilty at Chester Crown Court of death by careless driving while more than double the legal alcohol limit.

The 33-year-old, of Toft Road, Knutsford, had earlier admitted a charge of death by careless driving.

The charges relate to a collision outside Cottons Hotel on Manchester Road, near Knutsford, shortly after 10pm on Sunday 4 September 2016.

Darbyshire had been out drinking at a friend’s house in Mere. She left the address at approximately 10pm.

While driving back to her house in Knutsford Darbyshire collided with Miroslaw Chlap, 48, a chef at Cottons Hotel.

He had only just begun cycling home to Knutsford at time of the collision.

The impact was so severe that Mr Chlap flew off his bike onto a nearby embankment.

Mr Chlap’s wife of 21-years Nina said: “The death of my husband has affected all of us; the whole family and everyone he knew. Mirek was the mainstay of our family, a source of support as well as contagious optimism and joy.

“He was the greatest role model for our children. We always knew we could rely on him, even in the toughest of times.

“He would always spend all the time he could with the kids, playing, laughing, having fun – our house was full of happiness and joy. However, since my husband died our house has been silent.

“Mirek was always so happy and proud of the children, now he will never be there for them anymore to give them advice and support.

“He will not bless his son as he receives his first communion; he will not be happy for his elder son to go to university and we will never get to hear his voice, his laughter and we will never get to sit together and have a chat and simply be together - apparently, my life was too happy to stay that way.

“The person who caused the accident has ruined my and my kids’ lives, as well as their own life and the lives of their family. This didn’t need to happen; it could have been so different – if only…”