Mother releases last picture of daughter taken 20 minutes before she was killed by drink-driver
A heartbroken mother has released the last picture of her daughter, taken just 20 minutes before she was mowed down and killed by a drink-driver in a hit and run.
Nature-loving Fenella Hawes, 20, was carrying sunflowers to give to her mother Margaret when a car driven by Malcolm Waite, 68, mounted a pavement and hit her.
The student was declared dead at the scene, despite desperate efforts to save her after the collision at Stalham on the Norfolk Broads.
Mrs Hawes released the picture of her daughter smiling and posing with her flowers after Waite, who was nearly five times the drink-drive limit, was jailed for eight years.
The devastated mum said she ‘sobs every day’ at the loss of her daughter, a promising student who had been taking Natural Sciences at Lancaster University and was set to go to Honduras on a trip she had been awarded a bursary for.
‘I sob because she was so happy: she was so lovely inside and out, she was so alive and now she isn’t here, and never will be again. I never had a chance to say goodbye,’ Mrs Hawes said in a victim impact statement.
Fenella Hawes, 20, was carrying sunflowers to give to her mother Margaret when she was killed by a drink-driver in a hit and run
A 16-year-old girl who was walking with him was also hit, but escaped with cuts and bruises in the crash on the A149 road at 4.30pm on July 31 this year.
Waite of Hoveton, Norfolk, admitted causing death by dangerous driving at Norwich Crown Court. He was also banned from driving for seven years.
The court heard how he did not stop after hitting Fenella. He carried on driving his Lexus RX SUV for another mile and only came to a stop when he collided with a road sign, trees and shrubbery.
Officers found him sitting in the driver’s seat, and smelling strongly of alcohol with a half-drunk bottle of vodka beside him.
Footage from a bodycam worn by one officer showed him slurring his words and falsely accusing the policeman of having sworn at him.
Officers found Malcolm Waite, 68, sitting in the driver’s seat, and smelling strongly of alcohol with a half-drunk bottle of vodka beside him.
Waite, a retired computer engineer, refused to provide a breath test before being arrested and taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston near Great Yarmouth.
Four hours later, a test at the Police Investigation Center in Great Yarmouth revealed he had 120 mcgs of alcohol in his breath.
Officials calculated this would have been around 158 mcgs if taken at the roadside after the crash. The legal limit is 35 mcgs.
The police investigation found that Waite’s vehicle was not faulty, and the weather and road conditions were clear and fine.
During police interviews, he answered no comment to every question.
The court heard how Fenella and the teenager were walking home after work when they were hit by Waite after witnesses saw his car veer across the road.
Mrs Hawes described the loss of her daughter in her statement, saying: ‘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.
Fenella was a promising student who had been taking Natural Sciences at Lancaster University, where she had received a bursary to travel to Honduras. Police described her as a ‘remarkable young woman’
‘I sob because I will never see Fenella again, I will never see her radiant smile or hear her laugh, I will never talk with her about her day or about her plans for the future, I will never help cheer her up when she is sad or gossip with her, I will never go on long walks with her again, I will never be able to sit with her in front of our fire, it will never be the same again.
‘I picture her walking along, so happy carrying sunflowers for me and then being hit by the car.
‘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 a young adult beginning her life and her bright future was taken out in a few seconds because of someone who didn’t think or didn’t care.’
Andrew Oliver, defending, said Waite had a long history of depression and alcohol issues.
He and his wife had moved from Leicestershire to Norfolk during the pandemic, but he had moved out due to his erratic behavior and she had sought a restraining order against him.
Mr Oliver added: ‘He feels intense remorse for what he has done. He knows that he has caused intense pain to Fenella’s family and friends.’
Detective Inspector David McCormack, of Norfolk Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said after the hearing: ‘This is a tragedy, and it was wholly avoidable.
‘I implore anyone who thinks it is okay to have a drink and then drive, please remember the heart-breaking and devastating consequences of drink-driving so evident in this case. Waite’s decision to drink and drive has changed lives forever.
‘The teenage girl who, together with Fenella, was just walking home from work that day is traumatized by what has happened.
PC Callum Walchester, who arrested Waite at the scene, 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’ve ever seen behind the wheel of a car’
‘Waite will have to live the rest of his life in the knowledge he has taken the life of a remarkable young woman who had so much to offer and lots she wanted to achieve. He has caused so much pain to so many people.
PC Callum Walchester, who arrested Waite at the scene, 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’ve ever seen behind the wheel of a car. ‘
Fenella was granted a posthumous first class degree by her university following the tragedy.
Her family issued an earlier tribute at the time of her death saying she would ‘be greatly missed by all those who knew and loved her’.
Their statement added: ‘She made our world a better place with her vivacious spirit and lit up our lives with her laughter and quirky sense of humour.
‘She couldn’t walk past a cat without stopping for a photo shoot and was looking forward to going to the cat cafe with her boyfriend.
‘Her love of the environment and nature was shown in her enjoyment of local walks in the woods, the beach and lately in The Lakes.
‘She was a successful student and had completed two years studying Natural Sciences at university and had a trip to Honduras, funded through a bursary that she had been awarded, planned for the future.’