A DRINK-driver has begun a six-year jail term for causing a crash which killed a teenage girl.
Beth Markwick was a passenger in a car driven by Rashid Mahmood when he crashed while almost two times over the legal alcohol limit on June 10.
Paramedics fought to save the 15-year-old, of Woodcroft Close, Market Deeping, but she died at the scene from her injuries.
Mahmood, 24, of Mayor’s Walk, Peterborough, admitted to causing death by dangerous driving when he appeared at Huntingdon Crown Court on Tuesday.
Beth’s mother, Karen said she hoped the “hefty sentence” would deter others from drink-driving.
The court heard how Mahmood had stayed up drinking with his girlfriend at a Peterborough hotel until the early hours of the morning on June 10.
Despite still being drunk, he left the hotel at 9.45am in his red Honda Accord then travelled to several addresses in the Spalding and Market Deeping area, picking up three teenage girls including Beth.
Witnesses saw Mahmood’s car swerving across the A15 near Market Deeping at about 11.30am on June 10. He lost control of the vehicle which went into a spin and left the road, ending upside down in a ditch.
Beth, who was just four weeks short of her 16th birthday, was in the back seat of the car and was thrown from the vehicle.
The court heard how witnesses saw Mahmood pour away a bottle of vodka into the ditch while he was still trapped in the vehicle.
He failed to provide a breath test, however a blood test taken later found him to still be almost two times over the legal alcohol level.
Mahmood, who had a previous conviction for drink-driving, was given a five-year driving ban as well as his jail term.
Speaking after the verdict, Beth’s mother, Karen, who had faced Mahmood in court said the family were “pleased with the sentence”.
She said: “Nothing can bring our Beth back but our biggest fear was that he would get a light sentence and think he had got away with it.
“We didn’t want them to lock him up and throw away the key, but the sentence length and the driving ban when he comes out will hopefully show him the impact his drink-driving has had.
“We have never been about revenge, it has always been about justice and we feel this sentence will give him sufficient time to think about what he has done.”
She thanked the police and the court for supporting the family particularly their family liaison officer PC Gale. She said the family, which includes Beth’s dad David and brothers David and Stuart, could now start thinking about Christmas.
She added: “Thankfully he did plead guilty which meant the wheels of justice span quickly and the young girls were spared the harrowing ordeal of having to relive the crash.
“Hopefully this hefty sentence will send a message out to drink-drivers, especially young men, who think because they have had a bit of sleep they are fit to drive.”
PC David Halling said Mahmood would have plenty of time to reflect.
He said: “This case has left a lasting impact on the victims who were in the car and the family of Beth Markwick. No matter what sentence was passed, nothing can bring her back.
“We’re pleased Mahmood pleaded guilty and prevented the victims and witnesses having to go through any further trauma.
“This case shows how easily drink-driving can devastate families and the sentence shows how seriously it is treated.”