A family have paid tribute to a “kind, funny and caring man” who was killed by a drink-driver.
Mark Osborne, aged 48, died after the motorbike he was riding was hit by a van travelling along the A60 Mansfield Road, between Papplewick and Arnold.
Witnesses described the van repeatedly swerving in the moments leading up to the collision, which happened at approximately 9pm on 25 July 2021.
Nottingham Crown Court heard the van was being driven by Julieanne Walsh, who had spent the evening drinking at a pub and was almost three times over the driving limit for alcohol.
She failed to stop following the collision but was quickly tracked down by police and arrested.
Today (June 14) she was sentenced to five years after admitting causing death by careless driving when over the prescribed limit for alcohol. The 32-year-old, of Abbott Road, Mansfield, was told she will serve half the sentence in prison and the rest on licence.
Following the sentencing, Mark’s family said in a joint statement: “Almost a year ago, our lives were ruined by a careless and selfish act that took away a husband, a friend, a son, a brother and a dad.
“Mark was a kind, funny and caring man who enjoyed life and lit up so many people’s worlds. He loved to cook, go the cinema and spend time with his family – all things taken away from him and us.
“It is simply impossible to describe the pain that has been caused. He was the most loving man we ever knew. Such was his caring nature, he raised a lot of money for children’s charities and often donated toys to sick children.
“It’s been so hard to keep going as we are all completely broken.”
Following the collision, Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit attended the scene and it became apparent that another vehicle had been involved.
They carried out immediate CCTV enquiries and a suspect vehicle was quickly identified and tracked down to Walsh’s home address.
Officers could see her van had offside wing mirror damage consistent with debris left at the scene and Walsh admitted she had been involved in the collision earlier that evening.
She then failed a breath test and was arrested for causing death by careless driving whilst unfit through drink. The court heard a back calculation found she would have been almost three times over the alcohol limit for driving when the collision occurred.
During the investigation, CCTV footage showed her consuming five pints of lager and two Jägerbombs at a pub in the hours leading up to the crash.
Around 40 minutes before the collision, the CCTV footage captured her nearly falling over as she struggled to get into her vehicle.
Enquiries revealed she then drove through Nottingham city centre before stopping for food in Arnold. At 20.48pm, she embarked on a journey home that proved fatal.
Walsh declined to comment during an initial police interview following her arrest. However, officers were able to establish a picture of her driving prior to the collision after speaking to a number of other drivers in the area at the time.
One described a white van swerving into a grass verge causing the dust to come up before swerving back towards the centre line of the road.
Another reported being tailgated by a white van that was swerving and being driven by a woman matching Walsh’s description. This witness said the van was very close to the centre of the road when it approached a bend with a motorbike coming in the opposite direction.
After realising the van had gone on to hit the motorbike, the witness pulled over but the van did not stop.
Outlining the case today, prosecutor Wayne Cleaver said debris was left at the scene and that “due to the diligence of the police investigation”, Walsh was very quickly tracked down and arrested.
During today’s sentencing, the Judge Gregory Dickinson QC told Walsh: “On 25 July 2021 you drove whilst drunk and caused the death of a lovely human being.
“You intended no-one any harm, however the consequences for Mr Osborne’s family and friends are every bit as devastating as had you gone out with a knife or a gun.
“As this case painfully demonstrates, a vehicle with a drunk person at the wheel can be a lethal weapon.”
The judge continued: “No sentence can put a value on a life lost – that is not the intention. Every life is uniquely precious and there is nothing a court can do to put things right.”
Imposing a sentence of five years, the judge said he taken into account Walsh’s guilty plea, the “genuine and profound” remorse she had shown and the absence of any previous convictions.
Following the sentencing, Police Sergeant Mark Baker, from Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “The devastating impact of Walsh’s careless driving and drink driving will be felt by Mark’s loved ones for life. Our thoughts remain with his family and friends.
“This collision could have been avoided had Walsh shown any respect for the law and other road users and made the responsible decision not to drive after drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
“This case serves as a reminder to all of the dangers of careless driving and drink driving on our roads which can result in fatal consequences.
“I also hope it sends a clear message to other drivers – if you are found to be breaking the law and putting other people’s lives at risk you will be prosecuted and brought before the court.”
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