A father yelled ‘Oh my God’ seconds before a drunk driver in a BMW killed him in a head-on collision, a court heard – as the driver who was still over the limit twice six hours later has been jailed for 56 months.
William Ludlow, a ‘beloved family man’, was seriously injured when drunk Andrew Stinchcomb, 40, crashed into his car at high speed. The victim died in hospital two days later.
The fatal driver was still over double the limit when his alcohol level was tested six hours after the accident.
He was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday after admitting to causing his death by careless driving.
William Ludlow, pictured, a ‘beloved family man’ and father, yelled ‘Oh my god’ seconds before a drunk driver in a BMW killed him in a head-on collision, a court heard
Andrew Stinchcomb, 40, pictured was still more than double the limit when his alcohol level was tested six hours after the accident. He was sentenced to 56 months in prison
Gerald Baxter, Prosecutor, described how both parties drove on Willaston Road in Neston on the afternoon of July 26, 2021.
Stinchcomb’s BMW 3 Series and Mr. Ludlow’s Nissan were going in opposite directions as they approached a bend in the 50-mph road.
However, the suspect drove into the lane of the oncoming retiree, causing the fatal collision. Both men had to be cut from their cars by firefighters.
Mr Ludlow was airlifted to Royal Stoke Hospital after suffering ‘catastrophic injuries’. He died two days later on July 28, the cause of death being “serious chest and abdominal injuries.”
Meanwhile, Stinchcomb, from Marshlands Road in Little Neston, was flown by helicopter to Aintree Hospital.
The father-of-two told police on the scene that he had been drinking “hard liquor” and had 165 micrograms of alcohol in his system per 100 milliliters of blood when he took a sample more than six hours later – with a legal limit of 80 micrograms.
During an interview, the 40-year-old revealed that he took his children to school in the morning before returning home. Stinchcomb said he then went to a liquor store and bought cans of beer, one of which he drank on the beach before throwing the other away.
Mr Stinchcomb was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday after admitting to causing death by careless driving
He “wasn’t sure” if he had consumed more alcohol at home and told police that he “considered himself to be a safe and considerate driver” and “in hindsight regretted getting in the car.” The motorist also reported having a “poor history of mental health.”
Carol Slater, Mr. Ludlow’s front passenger, described the victim as a ‘good driver who always drove carefully’. After the accident, she reported that Stinchcomb was driving at “high speed” and “turned into their side of the road.”
Meanwhile, Mr Ludlow had ‘no chance whatsoever’ of avoiding the collision as the other car was driving ‘right in front of them’, Ms Slater told officers. She also reported hearing him say “Oh my God” when the BMW appeared “on top of them.”
Another driver riding in the back estimated they were both going about 40 miles per hour. His wife recalled that Stinchcombe ‘traveled way too fast’ and that Mr Ludlow ‘didn’t stand a chance’.
The woman spoke to the drunk driver in the aftermath of the accident and he told her he had had “a few drinks.”
A passing doctor who stopped to render aid said he smelled alcohol on his breath.
Stinchcombe – who has no previous convictions – had a front puncture next to his car, while one of his rear tires was under-inflated. The vehicle appeared to have ‘driven a short distance’ in this condition.
Sarah Holt, defending herself, told the court, “Mr. Stinchcomb is responsible for Mr. Ludlow’s death, and he takes full responsibility for it. That responsibility has placed a burden on him that he will bear not for the duration of his sentence, but for the duration of his life.
“He is consumed with guilt, shame and, above all, remorse for Mr. Ludlow’s family, who suffered the most devastating loss as a result of his actions.
“He is also full of remorse, guilt and shame regarding his own family, who will suffer the consequences of his actions that day – his partner and children will be left in a position where their partner and father are not at home.”
She added: “References speak volumes about the kind of man he usually is, and the high regard so many have for him. The only way he can even attempt to express how terribly, truly sorry he is to Mr. Ludlow’s family is to hand in his IOU and do so as soon as possible.’
Several relatives of both men attended the hearing. Mr Ludlow’s wife and son held hands as Stinchcomb was put behind bars for 56 months.
At sentencing, Judge Stuart Driver KC said: ‘This case concerns the untimely death of Mr William Ludlow. He was a much loved family man.
“The loss to his family and friends is impossible to calculate. Six hours after the accident, your blood was taken with a blood alcohol level of 165 micrograms per 100 ml.
Common sense says it must have been higher at the time of the accident. It is accepted that your driving behavior can be considered not far from dangerous.
‘The court can take into account the numerous references that praise your personal qualities. I take into account that you were in poor mental health at the time, and that contributed to your transgression.”
He added: “Your family, including your two young children, will be separated from you for a long time. Mr. Ludlow’s family is completely bereft of him.
“You showed real remorse and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. I thank Mr. Ludlow’s family for the dignity shown in this proceeding.”
Stinchcomb looked tearful at the hearing and was seen in the dock.
The driver nodded to the judge and softly said ‘thank you’ after the verdict was pronounced. He was also banned from driving for six years and four months.