COUNTY NEWS: Drink driver jailed after causing death of '˜promising' Sussex student

A 21-year-old man was sentenced on Friday (December 9) after causing a collision that killed a '˜promising' Sussex student, police have confirmed.

'Promising' Sussex student, Jack Mudd died at the scene
'Promising' Sussex student, Jack Mudd died at the scene

Jack Kay, from Gosmore, was given an 18-month jail term by a judge at Cambridge Crown Court after pleading guilty to ‘causing death by careless driving whilst over the drink drive limit’ at an earlier hearing.

He was also banned from driving for two years and will have to take extended retest before driving again.

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He had been out drinking in Hitchin town centre with his friend, Jack Mudd, in the early hours of Sunday October 4, 2015, when the pair got into his car to make the short journey back home just two miles away.

However Kay, who was driving, lost control of the car on a bend in a country road, hit a verge and the car overturned.

It is believed the Peugeot was travelling a minimum of 40mph going into the bend, police have said.

Neither were wearing seatbelts and as a result Kay was ejected from the vehicle. Kay suffered slight injuries.

Mudd died at the scene due to multiple injuries having been partially ejected from the vehicle.

Known as “Muddy” to his friends, he was a promising young golfer from Stevenage who was studying at The Golf College in Lindfield.

He had won numerous competitions and had won a scholarship to study at university in Florida because of his golfing ability.

His ambition was to hopefully turn professional.

His parents Dave and Ann Mudd said: “Living our lives without our son Jack has been sometimes impossible. We still take one day at a time. Jack was our life, our reason to live. Now we somehow have to find a way forward without him here. Jack had a bright and fantastic future ahead of him; he knew exactly what he wanted and worked so hard trying to get there.

“Jack’s death hasn’t just affected us, it has had a ripple effect, from his brother Mark, sister Kirsty, our wider families and his many friends made not just here where he went to school in Stevenage but throughout the country and across the world, through his interest in golf.

“Jack Kay has been sentenced now but on the day of the crash we were handed our own life sentence. Nothing will bring our Jack back and we will never recover from our loss. Our perfect family life has been destroyed forever.

“Jack has lost his life for the cost of a taxi fare. We would appeal to everyone anyone who has had a drink – don’t worry about drink drive limits, just don’t get behind the wheel of a car at all.”

Following the collision Kay was taken to hospital where he provided a sample of blood which was found to contain 116mg of alcohol, above the legal limit of 80mg.

Investigating officer PC Shona Gillen, from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Forensic Collision Investigation Unit, said: “On the morning of October 4, 2015, a one vehicle road traffic collision occurred which had devastating effects on Jack Mudd’s parents, family, childhood sweetheart Jess and friends.

“This was a very tragic incident where sadly Jack Mudd lost his life as a result of his friend drinking and driving.

“That night Jack Kay, for reasons unknown, chose to drive the short distance from Hitchin Town Centre to Gosmore having consumed an amount of alcohol which put him over the drink drive limit and affected his judgement and his ability to drive.

“Jack Kay now has to live with the consequences of his decision to drink and drive.

“If you are planning on going out drinking with your friends, leave your car at home. It isn’t worth the risk of either getting caught drink driving or taking someone’s life.

The road was well-known to Jack Kay which he had travelled along daily. A small amount of alcohol, whilst you may be under the drink drive limit, will affect your ability to judge distances and speeds. If your designated driver has been drinking, do not get in the car with them – get a taxi or call home.

“Any parent, even at 3am, would rather come and pick you up rather than be woken by a knock on the door from a police officer and be confronted by the devastating news that Ann and Dave have had to live with. Think, don’t drink and drive.”

Both friends were aged 19 at the time of the collision and had known each other since the age of eleven.

In Jack’s memory, Dave and Ann have been working hard to continue his passion for golf.

They have been working with Knebworth Golf Club, building an academy named after Jack for under 18s.

So far they have raised £25,000 for this cause and it is expected that it will be available for local schools to use.

Jack’s former secondary school, John Henry Newman in Stevenage, has also named a PE classroom after him.

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