A MOTHER of three from St Columb has been jailed for 12 months for causing the death of a pensioner in a head-on car crash.
Tamara Milby drank a bottle of wine before getting behind the wheel, and near Newquay smashed into a car driven by 78-year-old George Doherty whose wife Margaret, 77, was his passenger.
Mrs Doherty was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro after the collision on June 6 last year, but died in the early hours. Mr Doherty, the former vice-chairman of St Clement Parish Council, was also injured.
Elaine Hobson, for the prosecution, said Milby, of St James View, was driving her green Peugeot 307 estate on the A3058 towards Newquay at about 8.15pm when she failed to negotiate a bend near Dairyland Farm World and crossed into the path of on-coming traffic, colliding with the Dohertys' Nissan.
The couple had been at a dog obedience class at Watergate Bay.
Both were still conscious after the accident and were helped out of the car by witnesses.
Ms Hobson said: "At the time it was not thought that either of them had suffered any life-threatening injury."
Mr Doherty suffered two broken bones in his right foot, a broken rib and severe bruising to his torso.
"Mrs Doherty had complained of pain to her chest and was having difficulty breathing," said Ms Hobson.
"Sadly, in the early hours of the morning Mr Doherty was informed that his wife's condition had suddenly deteriorated and she had died."
A post-mortem examination recorded the cause of death as a pulmonary embolism and showed that there was no underlying disease.
A blood test taken four hours after the accident showed the level of alcohol in Milby's blood to be 118mg in 100ml – nearly one and a half times the legal limit.
In a victim statement read out in court, Mr Doherty described the enormous effect on him and his family of losing his wife, whom he described as being heavily involved in village life.
He said: "It was all so sudden, there were no goodbyes."
Mike Gregson, defending, said Milby had three children aged between 18 months and nine years and that at the time of the offence she had been drinking more than she should have done.
He said she drank a bottle of wine before asking her husband to drive her to see her mother.
He refused and so she drove herself.
Mr Gregson said it was quite clear Milby had suffered "extreme depression and anxiety" since the crash.
Sentencing her, Judge John Neligan said: "After nearly 53 years of marriage, Mr Doherty has lost his wife and constant companion. Mr Doherty's son has lost his mother, all because you decided to drive your car when you knew or certainly should have realised that you were unfit to do so."
Milby was sentenced to 12 months in prison for causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit.
She was disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended test before being able to drive again.