A 32-year-old woman from Bewsey who killed a dad of five as a result of driving after a cocktail of alcohol and cocaine has been jailed for six years.
Gemma Clout was so “high” she had no memory of the incident when the car she was driving struck pedestrian Patrick Moore, a dad of five from Runcorn.
Clout from Folly Farm Close, Bewsey, had started drinking vodka mixed with peach schnapps at around 5pm on Saturday 5 October 2019. At around 9.30pm she snorted class A drug cocaine.
Less than two hours later she decided to drive from where she then lived in Tithings, Runcorn, to the shops to buy cigarettes.
As she drove along Halton Brook Avenue in her Fiat Punto, she attempted to make a right turn onto a service road leading to Boston Avenue.
At that point her car mounted a kerb, and she pressed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal and collided with 62-year-old Mr Moore who was walking on the pavement.
The man from Runcorn, dad-of-five Patrick Moore, sustained extensive injuries as a result of the collision.
He sadly died of the injuries in hospital around five months later on Wednesday 11 March 2020.
Following the collision, Clout managed to get out of her car, which was stuck in railings by the Riverside Housing Association building.
Her partner Aaron Ryan picked her up in her Vauxhall van and the pair drove away from the scene.
When officers located Ryan a few hours later in Folly Lane, Warrington, she initially claimed that she had not been home all night and had left it insecure with the keys to the Fiat Punto inside. However, the incident was captured on CCTV footage.
Clout was arrested that night, shortly after 2.30am, and subsequently failed breath and blood tests for alcohol, with her being two times over the limit.
A drugs wipe and blood tests also revealed that she had a significant amount of cocaine in her system.
After initially refusing to answer any questions in custody and being released under investigation pending further enquiries, on Friday 11 October 2019 Clout voluntarily attended a police station and admitted to officers that it was her who was behind the wheel.
She also acknowledged that she had driven the car when unfit to do so due to drink and drugs and had fled the scene of the collision and subsequently failed to report it.
Clout claimed that she had no recollection of hitting the victim with her car and that the whole incident was ‘a bit of a blur’.
She was charged with a series of offences and pleaded guilty to causing a death by dangerous driving and by driving without due care and consideration whilst unfit through drink and drugs.
Clout also admitted to failing to stop after a collision and failing to report the incident.
She was sentenced for the offences at Chester Crown Court on Monday 18 January 2021.
Clout was jailed for six years and banned from driving for four years.
The driving ban will be activated upon her release from prison.
Clout will not be able to drive again until she has passed an extended retest.
Following her sentencing, Detective Constable Lisa Evans-Hill, who led the investigation on behalf of Cheshire Constabulary’s Roads and Crime Unit, said: “Gemma Clout told us during a voluntary interview she had never taken cocaine before the night of the fatal collision and that she doesn’t often drink and that alcohol affects her badly.
“Yet on Saturday 5 October 2019 she took the decision to drive to the shops to buy cigarettes after drinking all night and snorting cocaine.
“That decision ended up costing a much-loved dad-of-five his life.
“Whilst under the influence of the drink and drugs that had clearly impaired her ability to drive safely, she also made the decision to flee the scene of the collision.
“She fled whilst the victim was lying on the floor with serious injuries she had inflicted. He sadly died of those injuries in hospital five months later.
“Clout initially claimed that she had not been driving the car and gave us false information in a bid to make us think that a thief had stolen the vehicle and run the victim over.
“Less than a week later, however, she requested a meeting with officers and confessed to the crimes she committed that night.
“She made it clear that she was ashamed of her actions, and rightly so.
“Patrick Moore’s death was entirely preventable.
“Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right, and it comes with great responsibility to act within the rules laid down when you pass your test.
“When you deliberately ignore those rules you put yourself and other people at considerable risk, as this tragic case shows.
“I hope that this incident, and the custodial sentence that Clout has been handed by Chester Crown Court, deters others from drink or drug driving.
“I also hope the fact Clout is now behind bars facing the consequences of her actions provides the victim’s family with some closure and enables them to begin to move forward with their lives.
“Our thoughts remain with the family, who have been left devastated by Patrick’s senseless death.”
The family has issued a photograph of Patrick and paid tribute to him.
In a family statement, they said: “Dad wasn’t just a victim, he was a grandfather, a brother and the dad to the local community.
“He provided Christmas to members of the community who didn’t have it.
“Dad was eager to help those in need.
“He was a humble man with strong moral values and a quiz enthusiast with a thirst for knowledge.
“Dad was a very quick-witted and clever man, with a wicked sense of humour.
“He was also an independent man with a strong sense of pride and a proud Irishman who had a passion for watching Liverpool Football Club.
“Dad raised five daughters, four grandchildren and cared for his dying wife.
“Dad also became our mother.
“He was our best friend and will be greatly missed.
“Go easy Dad.”
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “Road safety is one of my key priorities, and tragic incidents such as this is the reason why.
“Collisions are the biggest killer in Cheshire and, sadly, Patrick was one of 36 people who lost their lives on our roads in 2019.
“That’s 36 people who didn’t come home and 36 families who had their whole worlds completely shattered.
“One death is too much, and there have been too many deaths and serious injuries in Cheshire in recent times that were caused by certain driving behaviours.
“I applaud the officers involved in this case for their hard work to achieve justice for the victim’s family, and I am committed to continuing to work with Cheshire Constabulary and partner agencies to reduce the number of serious incidents on our roads and motorways.”
Ryan, 31, who lives with Clout in Folly Farm Close, Warrington, pleaded guilty to charges of driving whilst disqualified and without insurance in relation to the incident.
He also admitted putting the safety of passengers at risk by driving a two-seater van with four people inside it. Ryan was sentenced at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 10 March 2020.
He was handed an eight-week prison sentence, which was suspended for 12 months.
Ryan was also banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to adhere to rehabilitation activity requirements and pay £85 court costs and a £122 victim surcharge.