Boyfriend jailed for killing partner in hit-and-run crash
PUBLISHED: 16:02 28 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:35 29 June 2018
A drink-driver has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years after killing his girlfriend with his van in a hit-and-run.
Christopher Harris, aged 35, pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Bristol Crown Court today (Thursday) after killing Laura Bliss.
Laura was hit by Harris’ Vauxhall Combi van at 2.20am on January 20 in Burnham Road, Highbridge.
The court was told Harris drove three times over the drink-drive limit and travelled between 38-41mph before the impact.
Harris, who had been dating Laura for about one month, had been ‘drinking heavily’ in Vinnie’s Bar, in Burnham, where Laura occasionally worked from 5pm.
Laura drove to bar at 9pm but, decided to leave her car there and walk two miles home just before 2am.
She was last spotted near the Esso garage in Burnham Road by its CCTV camera at 2.06am.
Laura, aged 34 and of Highbridge, died at the scene and sustained multiple injuries to both legs including a broken ankle a fatal fractured skull in the crash.
Harris continued to drive for 15 minutes after the collision before going back to her home.
Police went to the house at 4am and found Harris fully clothed in bed and told officers he could not remember getting into the van.
Adam Vaitilingam, prosecuting, said: “The experts concluded the defendant’s perception and reaction times were affected.
“Police officers and witnesses said the defendant was incoherent due to drinking a substantial amount of alcohol.
“One witness questioned the defendant, saying if he was really going to drive given how much he had had to drink.
“This was a deliberate act and the injuries sustained instantly killed the victim.”
The court was told Harris drove to Weston drunk in Laura’s car the week before the incident and he told witnesses he would not do it again.
Judge Peter Blair described Laura as a ‘happy and gregarious person’ and her death ‘has torn her family’s life apart’.
As well as being jailed, Harris was banned from driving for seven years and 117 days. It will not begin until he is released.
He will be considered for release half way through his sentence.