Policeman arrests ‘drunkest driver he’s ever seen’ after fatal crash

Malcolm Waite - Norfolk Constabulary / SWNS
Malcolm Waite - Norfolk Constabulary / SWNS

A drunk driver who killed a student was described by a police officer as the “drunkest person” he had ever seen behind the wheel of a car.

Malcolm Waite, 68, was jailed after he mounted the pavement in his Lexus RX SUV and crashed into 20-year-old Fenella Hawes and a 16-year-old girl. Ms Hawes died at the scene while her friend was left with cuts and bruises.

In a statement, Miss Hawes’ mother said she was haunted by images of her daughter walking along happily before being hit by the car.

Waite appeared at Norwich Crown Court last week and was jailed for eight years after admitting causing death by dangerous driving. He was also disqualified from driving for another seven years.

In newly released body cam footage from the scene, an intoxicated Waite is seen sitting in his vehicle as a police officer attempts to get a breath sample following the fatal collision on July 31.

The court heard how Waite didn’t stop after hitting Ms Hawes and her friend, but instead continued along the A149 for another mile.

He only stopped after colliding with a sign, trees and shrubbery on the verge of the road.

When officers arrived at the scene of the second collision, they found Waite, stinking of alcohol, sitting in the driver’s seat, with a half drunk bottle of vodka in the car.

PC Callum Walchester, who attempted to get Waite to provide a sample, said: “I’ve been a PC for 10 years and worked in roads policing for almost six years, and he was the drunkest person I have ever seen behind the wheel of a car.”

In the footage he is seen slurring his words and asking the police officers if they swore at him.

After failing to give a breath sample, he was arrested and taken to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

While in custody at Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre, approximately four hours after driving into Ms Hawes and the teenage girl, he was recorded as having 120 micrograms of alcohol in his breath.

Officers calculated this would have been approximately 158 micrograms if taken at the roadside after the crash. The legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres.

During police interviews, he answered every question: “no comment”.

Fenella Hawes smiles in a photograph - Norfolk Constabulary / SWNS
Fenella Hawes smiles in a photograph - Norfolk Constabulary / SWNS

Ms Hawes was a student who had been reading Natural Sciences at Lancaster University and had received a bursary to travel to Honduras.

Ms Hawes and her friend had been walking home together after work when Waite ploughed into them.

In her victim impact statement, Miss Hawes’ mother Margaret, said: “Every day I sob, when I wake up, throughout the day at random times with seemingly no reason and when I go to bed at night.

“I picture her walking along, so happy, carrying sunflowers for me and then being hit by the car.

“I sob because I will never see Fenella again, I will never see her radiant smile or hear her laugh.

“I sob for the future that she doesn’t have because a drunken man chose to get into a car, knowing that this was a weapon that could kill someone, and indeed it did – it killed my 20-year-old daughter.

“She was so alive and now she isn’t here, and never will be again. I never had a chance to say goodbye.”

Det Insp David McCormack said: “This is a tragedy, and it was wholly avoidable. I implore anyone who thinks it is OK to have a drink and then drive to please remember the heart-breaking and devastating consequences.”