THE SHEPLEY man jailed for the death of Jolene Potter-Connolly was told he had `raised the stakes' as he was sentenced yesterday.
Mr Justice Wakerley told dad-of-two Eton Brewins, 26, of Field Head, that he knew something was wrong, but failed to do anything.
Former postman Brewins was found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court yesterday of causing the death of Jolene, of Almondbury, through dangerous driving.
Over the course of a nine-day trial more than 20 witnesses had testified, telling the jury of seven men and five women about what they had seen in the car park of the Visage nightclub shortly after 2am on the morning of Thursday, September 11 last year.
The court heard how Brewins, who admitted drinking one-and-a-half alcopops and three Bacardi and cokes, had been told by a friend that someone had thrown something at his car.
Brewins got out to confront the person who he believed was responsible and produced a police-style extendable baton.
Only seconds later he was disarmed and floored by another reveller and then hurried back to his car.
Brewins then reversed with his passenger door open, knocking down three club-goers, including 23-year-old Miss Potter-Connolly.
Two rolled clear but Jolene was in front of the car as Brewins' Ford Escort sped off. She was dragged 168m beneath the car causing injuries from which she died.
Mitigating for Brewins following the jury's guilty verdict, Robert Smith QC said his client had been depressed by the consequences of his actions.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Wakerley said: "Eton Brewins, nothing I can say can restore the life of Jolene and no penalty that I can impose can reconcile her family to their loss, nor can it cure their grief.
"A young girl on the threshold of a new life.
"It has been said time and again that motor vehicles can be lethal if not driven properly and the greatest aggravating feature in the use of motor vehicles is by a driver whose judgement is affected through drink.
"By their verdict the jury has concluded that you disregarded the safety of people around that car."
The judge said the jury had rejected Brewins' defence that he believed he was being attacked by a mob and his life was under threat.
He added: "I can't ignore the fact that you raised the stakes by getting out with two passengers in your car, then getting the baton and I've no doubt that you were humiliated by the removal of that baton."
Mr Justice Wakerley said: "I've no doubt that any irresponsibility on that night is down in the foremost to the drink that you had had.
"I have to have regard to your conduct as a whole."
The judge also said he was unsure about whether Brewins was actually going to leave his car overnight in Visage's car park and get a taxi home as he told the jury.
He added: "I've to tell you that I've extreme doubts whether you intended to leave that vehicle in the car park that night and not drive it back."
Mr Justice Wakerley said: "You failed to stop. It didn't cause Jolene's death, poor thing was already fatally injured, but I'm driven to the conclusion that you knew that something was greatly wrong and yet you did nothing ."
Sentencing Brewins to four-and-a-half years in prison the judge said: "I've no doubt that you wish desperately that you could put the clock back but I've a duty to perform and to make it plain that feckless, dangerous driving of a car when you have had a drink calls for deterrent sentences.
"It is unenviable, and I repeat that nothing I can do can help those who grieve for the loss of this young lady."
Brewins was also banned from driving for three years and the charge of manslaughter was laid on his file.
Mr Justice Wakerley added: "May the court express its sympathy to the family of Jolene. It was a terrible tragedy and I thank them for the dignity which they have shown for being in the public gallery throughout this all."