A DRIVER who had five pints of strong lager and then killed a Meltham man is behind bars.
Richard Mail insisted on taking the keys to his car – even though he had had five pints of Stella Artois in the Waggon and Horses pub in Meltham.
And just a mile down the road, he ploughed into a car being driven by former soldier Gary Pedelty, who was killed.
Mail was jailed for four years but the sentence was criticised by Mr Pedelty’s parents, who had sat through yesterday’s hearing at Bradford Crown Court.
Kevin and Aletia Pedelty said Mail had shown no remorse at all.
Mr Pedelty said: “Gary was a war hero. He comes back from the Army and was working with me and then this happens.
“That sentence is just a licence for people to go out and get drunk out of their tree and kill someone.
“He will only serve two years. That is nowhere near long enough. We want justice for Gary. Mail has shown no remorse to us or to our family.”
Former soldier Mr Pedelty, 24, was killed instantly when his Mazda 323 was struck by a Peugeot 206 driven by Mail on Huddersfield Road between Netherton and Meltham in November 2010.
Mail, 38, of Copley Avenue, Meltham, appeared at Bradford Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty last month to causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit.
Mr and Mrs Pedelty held each other in the jury box throughout the hearing, alongside family and friends and honoured their son by displaying a picture of their son Gary, captioned ‘Legend’.
Mr Pedelty had served in the 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and had seen gruelling action in Iraq.
He was well known in Meltham as a member of Meltham All Blacks rugby league team alongside his brother Jason.
The court heard Mail was one and a half times over the limit after drinking five pints of Stella Artois on November 23, 2010.
Judge Colin Burn told Mail: “You caused his death by having too much to drink.
“In your case it wasn’t helped by a prescribed dose of methadone.
“You then got behind the wheel of your car. You ignored attempts by your father and bar staff to keep your car keys from you and you persisted in your desire to drive.”
He said Mail’s actions by driving a vehicle comprising of around 1.5 tonnes of metal at 75mph whilst under the influence had proved a ‘lethal combination and caused ‘untold heartache’ to Mr Pedelty’s family.
The judge said: “To call it an accident undermines the offence with which you are charged. Nothing a criminal court can impose will restore things to how they were before. Not for Mr Pedelty’s family, for you or for your family.”
The court heard how the Mail’s car first clipped a Volvo driven by Carol Crowther who was travelling in the opposite direction.
And seconds later it hit the car behind the Volvo, the Mazda driven by Gary Pedelty. His vehicle was crushed by a side impact and the rear was forced into a drystone wall crushing him inside.
The court heard expert analysis suggested Mail, who has now expressed remorse to the court, was travelling at 75mph on the 60mph road at the time of the collision.
Witness Gregory Hood described the scene as “absolute carnage” after he narrowly avoided being struck by the engine from the Peugeot which flew out of Mail’s vehicle on impact.
Mail, who suffered a broken leg and fractured eye socket in the crash, told police at interview he did not remember any of the crash.
He was sentenced to four years in prison and banned from driving for three years.
After the hearing a statement from the family, added: “Though we are relieved that the defendant driver has been banned from driving and sent to prison for four years, we are devastated at the sentence and feel that is not harsh enough.
“Although the criminal process has now come to an end, the family remain extremely traumatised by their loss.”
Mrs Pedelty added: “Gary’s death has caused unimaginable pain for me, my husband, our sons Jordan and Jason, and Gary’s friends. He had everything to live for and we just can’t believe that he has gone.”
Det Sgt Carole Clayton, of the Major Collision and Enquiry Team, said: “We are pleased to see Richard Mail sentenced to four years in prison, however we also acknowledge that no sentence will ever compensate the family for their tragic loss.
“We hope that the punishment handed by the court will serve as some closure to the Pedelty family and Gary’s partner Ruth, as well as clearly demonstrating that the police will investigate all drink-related motoring offences and look to use the full force of the law to punish offenders.”