Drunk driver gives judge thumbs-up as he’s jailed for six years for...

Drunk driver gives judge thumbs-up as he’s jailed for six years for killing barmaid in 100mph hit-and-run


Paul Tomlinson, 33, left barmaid Susan Smythe, 59, to die in the road after knocking her down at a pedestrian crossing

Paul Tomlinson left Susan Smythe to die in the road after hitting her at speeds of up to 100mph (Photo: GMP/PA)

A drunk driver who killed a barmaid in a 100mph hit-and-run gave a thumbs-up in court as he was jailed for just six years.

Paul Tomlinson, 33, ploughed into Susan Smythe, 59, at a pedestrian crossing.

In a tragic twist of fate, her police officer son Rob – a crime scene examiner – discovered his mother was dead when he was asked to investigate the tragedy.

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A court heard Tomlinson had been drinking vodka and was seen by other drivers veering in between lanes and hanging out of the window of his VW Golf, as if trying to get some air.

After picking up his partner Shelby Keedy, 20, he put his foot down and ignored her pleas to slow down.

He undertook another car at up to 60mph before crashing into Susan, who was walking home after playing bingo.

Tomlinson left her dying in the road in Stretford, Greater Manchester, last September, after hitting her at what witnesses estimated to be 70-100mph.

He thanked the judge and gave a thumbs-up to his family as he learned he could free in just three years. The maximum sentence he could have faced was 14 years.

Susan Smythe, 59, died after being by Tomlinson’s car last September (Photo: GMP/PA)

He was also banned from the road for eight years.

After the case Miss Smythe’s sister Kathleen Condon, 59, said: “I don’t feel like Susan’s got any justice – the fact this man put his thumbs-up in court is about as disrespectful to us as you could be.

“I think he should have got more of a jail sentence and banned from driving for the rest of his life. He should never be able to drive again after taking someone’s life.”

The court heard Tomlinson had driven from the scene at 50mph leaving his victim to die in the road.

In a statement Shelby Keedy said: “I was screaming at him to slow down but he knew it scared me.

“At the time of the crash I screamed at him to stop but it was a second or so before he reacted.

“I was screaming and telling him he had to go back. The life of an innocent woman had been taken.”

She later contacted police and Tomlinson, from Sale Moor, Greater Manchester, was arrested.

He failed to give a breath sample and refused to comment in police interview.

Tomlinson was sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester (Photo: MEN)

He was not charged with drink-driving but the father-of-one pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing death by dangerous driving , failing to stop after a road accident and failing to provide a specimen of breath.

In a grovelling letter to the victim’s family he wrote: “My actions that night were that of a coward, to leave her there in the road were not the actions of a man.

“Fear and shock took over me and I drove off. I have lost custody of my daughter, lost family and friends through this nightmare I have created.

“I hope one day life gets a little easier for all of you, and Christmas is bearable without your loved one.”

Passing sentence at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court, Judge Stuart Driver QC said: “Susan Smythe was an innocent pedestrian and the sudden and unnecessary end to her life is a terrible loss to the family and friends.

“No words can soften the bereavement and no sentence imposed can change what’s happened.”