Hit-and-run driver jailed

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A hit-and-run driver who left a young woman trapped in the wreckage of her car was jailed for seven years yesterday for causing death by dangerous driving.

Barry McGowan, who is unemployed, admitted causing the death of management trainee Juliet Wood near Bournemouth airport, Dorset in December last year. He also admitted driving while disqualified. Miss Wood, 20, died several days later at Southampton General Hospital from head injuries suffered in the head-on collision. Bournemouth Crown Court heard that McGowan, 37, of West Moors, Dorset, had been banned from driving for three years in October 1995.

On 9 December he borrowed his girlfriend's car and ploughed into Miss Woods' vehicle as he tried to overtake on a left-hand bend. He fled the scene and phoned his girlfriend, telling her to report that her car had been stolen. He was eventually charged after DNA tests on a blood sample he gave matched blood found on the driver's seatbelt buckle.

In his defence, the court heard that McGowan deeply regretted his actions and had suffered recurring nightmares since the accident. Jailing him and banning him from driving for 15 years, Judge Patrick Hooton said: "You took the life of a young girl and I take a very serious view".