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Haverhill family 'abhorred' by reduction in convicted drink and drug driver's prison term

A widower has condemned as 'abhorrent' a reduction of the sentence given to a drink and drug driver whose 'selfish' actions resulted in his wife's death.

Sarah Hand, of Aragon Road in Haverhill had her eight years prison term - four in custody and four on licence - reduced by one year by three Court of Appeal judges last Thursday.

She had been sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on February 2, 2018 after admitting causing the death of Gail Brown, 56, by careless driving while over the limit for alcohol, cocaine and cannabis.

Ian and Gail Brown, left, with their family. Contributed picture
Ian and Gail Brown, left, with their family. Contributed picture

On December 22, 2017 Hand's car had swerved across the A1307 near Linton, straight into the path of the Nissan Micra being driven by Mrs Brown, who died at the scene.

The court heard that Hand, 50, was double the drink-driving limit and had ten times the legal level of cocaine in her system.

Read more about the court hearing HERE

Ian Brown, who should have been celebrating his and Gail's 19th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, said: "In the first instance we (Gail’s family) never thought the original sentence was harsh enough given that driving with the levels of alcohol and drugs that were in Hand’s system resulted in the tragic and if you read the coroners report, brutal killing of another person, in this instance Gail.

Gail Brown. Contributed picture
Gail Brown. Contributed picture

"Therefore whilst the reduction of her sentence from a net position of eight years, four custodial and four on licence to seven years, 3.5 and 3.5 respectfully is less than we were told to prepare ourselves for, any reduction was and is abhorrent and very disappointing.

"It also confirms that irrespective of what she may say, she obviously has no real remorse or consideration for what she did, for us or our feelings.

"If she did she would have just served out what was already a miniscule time in prison compared to our life sentence and no life for Gail. She will after all be released one day and be back with her family, we will never have that luxury."

Sarah Hand
Sarah Hand

Mr Brown, of Lowry Close in Haverhill, added that Hand's actions on that day had been 'selfish, life changing and devastating'.

He added: "It is also worthy to note that we have had little or no rights throughout the whole process both of the original trial and the recent appeal and could not contest that appeal, make our own appeal or anything else.

"Everything is and has been for her and not the victims."