Drug and drink-fuelled driver, 43, who tried to blame his girlfriend, 47, for horror crash with lorry which ki

  • Kevin Marsh was behind the wheel of the car while drunk and high¬†
  • He was travelling at 50mph in a 30mph zone, and crashed into a lorry¬†
  • He tried to blame the crash on his girlfriend, mum-of-four Michelle Atherton

A drug and drink-fuelled dad who killed his girlfriend in a horror crash with a bin lorry before trying to blame her for the accident wept today after he was jailed for 16 years.

Kevin Marsh, 43, had taken cocaine and cannabis and drank gin before getting behind the wheel of a white Ford Fiesta on July 5 last year.

At 7am, he smashed into the truck head-on while driving at around 50mph in a 30pmh zone in St Helens, Merseyside, killing mum-of-four Michelle Atherton, 47.

He had previously pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving, claiming Michelle grabbed the wheel and turned the car into the path of the truck.

But he was was found guilty of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving, following a six-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Kevin Marsh, 43, (pictured) had taken cocaine and cannabis and drank gin before getting behind the wheel of a white Ford Fiesta Kevin Marsh, 43, (pictured) had taken cocaine and cannabis and drank gin before getting behind the wheel of a white Ford Fiesta

Kevin Marsh, 43, (pictured) had taken cocaine and cannabis and drank gin before getting behind the wheel of a white Ford Fiesta

The crash killed mum-of-four Michelle Atherton (pictured) The crash killed mum-of-four Michelle Atherton (pictured)

The crash killed mum-of-four Michelle Atherton (pictured)

Marsh has now been sentenced to 16 years behind bars Marsh has now been sentenced to 16 years behind bars

Marsh has now been sentenced to 16 years behind bars

During his trial, prosecutor Arthur Gibson said Marsh had known 'exactly what he was doing' after the collision and had told 'lie after lie' in the courtroom.

He said: 'In relation to the crash itself, when you analyse it carefully, coldly and dispassionately, [it] shows that Kevin Marsh has given you a pack of lies.

'Marsh was driving too fast, he was drunk, he was drugged up and drove too close to the centre of the road.

'It was the hands of Kevin Marsh that turned the steering wheel to the right and the hands of Kevin Marsh that caused that head-on collision and the death of Michelle Atherton.'

The court previously heard how both Marsh and Michelle had been intoxicated with alcohol and cocaine prior to them getting in the car.

Blood toxicology reports showed that she also had prescription anti-psychotic medication in her system, something which Marsh claimed she had not taken.

After an alleged argument about Marsh's ex-girlfriend, Gemma Bainbridge, he said Michelle grabbed a hammer and demanded to go to her house early on July 5.

Marsh claimed he was concerned his daughter was in the house, so he reluctantly drove Michelle to the address, where she left the vehicle and smashed a window on her front door.

Marsh was not insured to drive the Ford Fiesta but claimed that he felt fit to drive as he stopped drinking between 1am and 2am.

On the way back home, he claimed Michelle began 'screaming at me and told me to put my foot down' because 'she thought she was being followed'.

Steven Ball, defending Marsh, said this was what caused him to drive in excess of 50mph in a 30mph area.

After narrowly avoiding a collision with a van, he claimed Michelle grabbed the steering wheel, which pushed the Fiesta into the path of the oncoming bin wagon.

Judge Aubrey summarised several witness statements during the trial, saying that Marsh was 'staggering', 'stumbling', and 'looked like he had been drinking'.

Marsh also told people at the scene that the Fiesta was not his car and he 'didn't know what it was doing there'.

He further alleged that he was a pedestrian and that he had been 'jumped on' and was being set up, and also tried to call a taxi to leave the scene.

A roadside breath test showed that the driver had 58 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath, over the limit of 35.

Further reports showed that his blood-to-alcohol level was more than double the limit, and he also tested positive for cocaine and cannabis.

Michelle, who also had six grandchildren and another on the way at the time of her death, was described by her family as 'the best mum' who 'had a heart of gold'.

In a statement released after her death, her family said: 'Our mum was the best mum that anyone could have ever dreamt or wished for.

'She had a heart of gold and a smile that would light up any room that she graced her presence with.

'You will be dearly missed by your four loving children, six grandchildren and your unborn grandchild.

'We love you mum. You were taken from us too soon.

'We will love and cherish you forever and always. We hope you rest in peace now with your mum.'

References

  1. ^ Perkin Amalaraj (www.dailymail.co.uk)