The family of a young woman who was mowed down by “the drunkest driver a cop has ever seen” launches an effort to increase her hit and run killer’s “lenient” eight-year prison sentence.
Nature-loving Fenella Hawes, 20, was carrying sunflowers to give to her mother Margaret when a car driven by Malcolm Waite pulled up a sidewalk and hit her.
The student was pronounced dead at the scene despite desperate efforts to save her after the collision in Stalham, Norfolk on July 31 this year.
Fenella Hawes, 20, (pictured right) was killed when drunk Malcolm Waite drove his car onto the sidewalk. Her family is now asking for his eight-year sentence to be increased
Retired computer engineer Waite, 68, was jailed for eight years despite being described by the arresting officer as “the drunkest person I’ve ever seen behind the wheel of a car.”
Waite was nearly five times over the drink-driving limit and was carrying a bottle of vodka in the car when it came to a stop after crashing into a tree more than a mile away.
Now Fenella’s family are urging the Attorney General to increase Waite’s sentence as they do not believe it reflects the full gravity of his crime.
Her older sister Rosie, a 27-year-old dental assistant, told MailOnline: “Waite pleaded guilty and was credited with sentencing, but we still don’t think the sentence took all factors into account.”
Offenders receive a reduced sentence of up to a third in exchange for an admission of guilt.
Retired computer engineer Waite, 68, was jailed for eight years despite being described by the arresting officer as “the drunkest person I’ve ever seen behind the wheel of a car.” Pictured: Police bodycam footage of Waite as he was arrested
The law was amended the month before Fenella’s death, increasing the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving from 14 years in prison to life.
Mother-of-two Rosie added: ‘We as a family were shocked by the sentence, especially after the law was changed.
“When we consider how much alcohol was in his system, the fact that he didn’t quit and the loss to our family, we think it should have been more.
“We are a very close family and she was the light of our whole lives, and now she has been taken from us.”
A Change.org petition has garnered nearly 4,000 signatures so far.
“We want to reach as many people as possible and share my sisters’ story, in the hopes that this will increase his sentence and deter other people from drink-driving,” Rosie said.
Fenella and Rosie’s mother, Margaret, gave a moving victim impact statement to the court when Waite was sentenced, saying she “sobs every day” over the loss of her daughter, a promising student who studied science at Lancaster University and at the was about to go to Honduras on a scholarship she had received.
Police officers who arrested Waite (pictured) said: ‘He was the drunkest driver I’ve ever seen’
“I sob because she was so happy: she was so beautiful inside and out, she lived like this and now she’s not here and she never will be. I never had a chance to say goodbye,” Ms Hawes said in a victim impact statement.
A 16-year-old girl who was walking with her was also hit, but escaped with cuts and bruises in broad daylight on the A149.
Waite of Hoveton, Norfolk, admitted to causing death by dangerous driving at Norwich Crown Court. He was also banned from driving for seven years.
The court heard how he didn’t stop after hitting Fenella. He drove his Lexus RX SUV for another mile, only coming to a stop when he collided with a road sign, trees and bushes.
Officers found him sitting in the driver’s seat, smelling strongly of alcohol with a half-drunk bottle of vodka next to him.
Nature-loving Fenella Hawes, 20, (pictured) was carrying sunflowers to give to her mother Margaret when a car driven by Malcolm Waite pulled up a sidewalk and hit her
Footage from a bodycam worn by an officer showed him double-tongued and falsely accused the officer of verbal abuse.
PC Callum Walchester, who arrested Waite at the scene, said: ‘I’ve been a PC for 10 years and spent nearly six years in the Road Police, and he was the drunkest person I’ve ever seen behind the wheel of a car. ‘
Waite refused to take a breath test before being arrested and taken to James Paget Hospital near Great Yarmouth.
Four hours later, a test showed he had 120 mcg of alcohol on his breath.
Officers calculated that this would have been about 158 mcg had they been taken by the roadside after the crash. The legal limit is 35 mcg.
The police investigation found that Waite’s vehicle was not faulty and that the weather and road conditions were clear and good.
The court heard how Fenella and the teenager were walking home after work when they were hit by Waite after witnesses saw his car cross the road.
Fenella, who had studied Natural Sciences at Lancaster University, was posthumously awarded a first class degree from her university after the tragedy
Ms Hawes described the loss of her daughter in her statement as follows: ‘Every day I sob, when I wake up, at random times all day long for no apparent reason and when I go to bed at night.
“I’m sobbing because I’ll never see Fenella again, I’ll never see her shine again or hear her laugh, I’ll never talk to her about her day or her plans for the future, I’ll never help her cheer up when she’s sad or gossip with her, I will never take long walks with her again. I will never be able to sit in front of our fire with her again. It will never be the same.
“I see her walking in front of me, so happy carrying sunflowers for me and then getting hit by the car.
“I sob for the future she doesn’t have, because a drunk man chose to get into a car, knowing it was a weapon that could kill someone, and it did. It killed my 20 year old daughter.
“She was a young adult novice and her bright future was taken away in seconds by someone who didn’t think or didn’t care.”
Fenella was posthumously awarded a first class degree from her university after the tragedy.
Her family issued a previous tribute at the time of her passing, saying she would be “dearly missed by all who knew and loved her.”
Their statement added: ‘She made our world a better place with her vibrant 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 reflected in her enjoyment of local walks in the woods, on the beach and lately in The Lakes.
“She was a successful student and had studied natural sciences at university for two years and planned a trip to Honduras for the future, funded by a scholarship awarded to her.”