Owner of horses killed in Winkfield drink drive horror speaks out
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Hayley Gibbs and Rosemoor
A MOTHER who was mown down alongside her daughter by a drink-driver as they rode their horses has spoken of her disbelief at his sentence.
Hayley Gibbs, 47, and her daughter Lilly, 22, were catapulted over the top of an Audi TT sports car driven by Christian Myers, 41, after he ploughed into them in Hatchet Lane, Winkfield, on December 8.
Both horses, Rosemoor and Tuppence, were put down at the scene by a vet. Stable owner Ian Smeeth was also injured in the smash but his horse survived.
At Slough Magistrates' Court on Friday, February 22, Myers, a freelance illustrator, admitted drink-driving and driving without due care and attention
He was banned from driving for 16 months and ordered to pay a total of £1,332 in fines and costs. If he attends a drink-driving awareness course, he can reduce his ban to 12 months.
Myers, of Woodside Road, Winkfield, had blood-alcohol readings of between 100 and 140 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, against a legal limit of 80, the court heard.
He claimed he was "blinded by the sun" when his car hit the riders. Mrs Gibbs, a mother-of-two, suffered multiple fractures to her face and wrist and her daughter had back injuries. Mrs Gibbs was airlifted to Frimley Park Hospital.
Speaking from her Warfield home, Mrs Gibbs said the sentence given to Myers did not reflect the severity of the impact on her family. She added she would never ride again after the trauma of losing her beloved horse, Rosemoor.
"Anyone could get a year's ban for drink-driving," she said. "He killed two horses and injured myself and my daughter. I've had so many sleepless nights and tears over this. What we've been through over the last three months is unbelievable. It just goes through your mind.
"I would have liked to have seen a three-year ban. The sentence is just the norm, but he's damaged lives. My husband turned up at the scene and had to witness his wife and daughter after an accident. It's been such an emotional, traumatic time for us. Our whole lives revolved around horses. But I won't ride again. My horse was an absolute angel. I'm never going to replace her."
Mrs Gibbs has had pins inserted into her face and arm and has lost rotation in her wrist. She continues to suffer numbness in her lips, nose and cheek and has to see a maxillo-facial surgeon. She said the family lost their best friends in the horses they owned for more than 10 years.
The Gibbs family has planted a tree in Windsor Great Park in honour of their beloved pets, which they intend to mark with a plaque. The horses' ashes will, subject to permission, be scattered at the foot of the tree, in an area they frequented in happier times.
Chief Inspector Colin Clark, from Thames Valley Police, said: "This was a horrific and traumatic incident for the two horse riders who were seriously injured in this collision, it also caused the death of the horses.
"The collision occurred due to the careless actions of a driver who was drunk, he is totally responsible for the collision and irresponsible for driving while drunk."
This article appeared in Bracknell News 27 Feb 13