Woman, 61, jailed for seven years after drink-drive death of cyclist

Alison Bowen was more than twice the limit when she rammed into cyclist Paul Novak on the A21 in Sussex

A woman who fatally struck a cyclist while driving under the influence has been jailed for seven years.

Alison Bowen, 61, was partially driving on the grass verge of the A21 at Robertsbridge, at more than twice the drink-drive limit, when she hit 50-year-old Paul Novak.

The windscreen of her Fiat Punto shattered and caved in from the force of the collision.

She continued driving for five miles leaving Novak’s body in the road, before crashing again telling police that she thought she had only hit a badger.

Novak had been cycling home south on the arterial road when Bowen hit him at about 4.30pm on 18 November. He died at the scene.

Bowen's knuckles had been cut by the splintered windscreen rubbing against her hands, police said, as she drove on before being questioned by police. A breathalyser found 85 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of her breath.

At Lewes Crown Court, Bowen pleaded guilty to causing death by driving without due care and attention while over the prescribed limit.

She was jailed for seven years and banned from driving for two. She is required to pass an extended test before she can drive again.

Novak's mother Ann said: “My only son Paul had his life snuffed out in seconds through no fault of his own.

“No sentence will ever be enough to take away the pain I feel that I will not get the chance to spend the rest of my life with him.

 “I still cannot come to terms with the fact that Paul is no longer with us. I have been given great support by my family, friends and the police but nothing can prepare you for the death of your child and nothing takes away the sorrow.”

Sussex Police said they had been targeting drink and drug drivers in June as part of Operation Dragonfly, which has led to 100 charges.

Sergeant Dan Pitcher said: “Paul Novak was the innocent victim of a woman who selfishly decided to drink and then drive home.

“He had no chance to avoid Bowen or to do anything that could have saved him from her.

“Bowen was so drunk when she struck Mr Novak that she did not even know what she had done.

“After the collision she must have been able to see next to nothing out of her windscreen as the front of her car was smashed to pieces but she continued on the roads and could have easily caused more serious or even fatal accidents.

“There is no such thing as an acceptable amount that you can drink before driving. One drink is one drink too many, as the family of Mr Novak will testify to.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing