Drink-driver who caused fatal crash has sentence increased by Court of Appeal

A drink-driver who caused the death of a young woman has had his sentenced increased on appeal after judges felt his initial sentence was too lenient.

Matthew Shaw, 35, was above the legal alcohol limit and driving at twice the speed limit when his Audi A5 cut through a red light and crashed head on with Jenny Sell’s Honda Jazz on 31 July 2019.

The crash happened at the junction of Hayes Park Road and Northmead Road.

Jenny was pronounced dead at the scene. She would have turned 21 just two months later.

Shaw was subsequently found to have been driving at approximately 105mph in Midsomer Norton just minutes before the crash.

Matthew Shaw's heavily damaged Audi A5 following lethal collision with Jenny Sell's vehicle Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

He was jailed in January for six years and eight months after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving when above the legal alcohol limit and failing to comply with a drugs test.

Shaw, of Walnut Grove in Shepton Mallet, was also also given nine months in prison to run consecutively for taking a vehicle without consent on 4 November 2020 when he was involved in a collision with another vehicle on the A371.

But he appealed the sentence on the basis it was too severe, while Jenny's family also appealed saying it was too lenient.

At the time of the original sentencing Jenny's parents called her a "beautiful person inside and out" who was a "special girl who had everything to live for. So little time to shine, but shine she did.”

"There is not a single minute of every day that she is not thought of by us, her family and friends," they had added.

Jenny Sell, 20, victim of collision with drink driver Matthew Shaw. Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

At a hearing yesterday judges from the Court of Appeal agreed to quash the original prison term and instead sentenced Shaw to a total of eight years and nine months imprisonment – an increase of 16 months.

They felt the gravity of Shaw’s offending warranted an increased sentence.

Shaw will also be disqualified from driving for nine years after being released, as per his original sentence.

Collision investigation officer Dai Nicholas said: “Matthew Shaw was found to be more than one-and-a-half times over the legal alcohol limit when he crashed his Audi into Jenny Sell’s car. He will need to learn to live with the consequences of his deadly and dangerous actions for the rest of his life.

“We welcome the judges’ decision today and hope it acts as a warning to other people who wrongly think it’s acceptable to drink and drive. Getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol can destroy the lives of so many people.

“My thoughts and sympathies go out to Jenny’s family who have had to try to come to terms with what has happened. They have shown incredible courage throughout this emotional court process.”


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