A JUDGE who jailed a careless driver for just one year after a car ploughed through a pub's smoking area, killing one and injuring three others, said his sentence "could never change" the devastating consequences of the crash.

Bandile Xozumti, 41, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday after his careless driving caused the death of 36-year-old Stuart McClung.

The court heard Xozumti had driven to a party with his wife on the evening of the crash, in November 2019.

In an interview with the probation service following his arrest and charge, he said he had drunk one or two glasses of wine.

A blood sample was taken five hours later which showed a low blood alcohol concentration. The court heard Xozumti is a Type 1 diabetic and is dependent on insulin, but there is no evidence to suggest he was suffering from any problems arising from his condition at the time of the crash.

The court heard at about 12.50am, Xozumti drove onto Hythe Quay with his wife in the passenger seat selecting music via her phone.

As he approached the pub, he failed to follow a gradual bend, instead driving onto the opposite side of the road before mounting the pavement.

Crash reconstruction experts said he was travelling between 37mph and 43mph, over the 30mph speed limit.

His car ploughed through the outdoor smoking area, where Mr McClung was seated by the pub wall. Also in the smoking area were Mr McClung’s partner Victoria Spall, Ian Winter and Carl Joyner.

All four were hit by the car and Mr McClung was forced through the wall, with the car coming to a halt about two metres from where the barman was standing. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Miss Spall suffered cuts and abrasions to her limbs and hips, as well as bruises to her ribs.

Mr Winter, a regular at the pub, described the impact of the car as “like a bomb going off ”.

He suffered serious injuries, including fractures to his pelvis, left hip, left femur and some spinal bruising.

Seven weeks after the crash, he remained in a wheelchair.

The court heard Mr Joyner, who suffered head injuries, a dislocated right arm and shoulder and nerve damage, had just given his seat up to Mr McClung just before the crash.

Read more: Driver jailed for killing popular musician and injuring three in pub crash

How do the courts sentence cases of death by careless driving?

In sentencing Xozumti, Judge Timothy Walker used the sentencing council’s guidelines for cases of causing death by careless driving.

“It is a definitive guideline for sentencing in cases such as this and I’m bound to follow that guidance,” he said in court yesterday.

The offence can carry a maximum term of five years imprisonment in some cases after trial.

But in Xozumti’s case, counsel acting for the prosecution and defence agreed the offence fell within the middle category on the guidelines, which carries a range of sentences between a high-level community order and two years imprisonment after trial.

The judge was bound to give a 25 per cent discount on the sentence for his guilty plea and took into account aggravating factors and mitigating factors.

Xozumti had suggested he may have blacked out before the crash, but there was no medical evidence to support this assertion.

While he later admitted he had drunk between one and two glasses of wine, there was no evidence before the court to prove he was over the legal limit at the time of the crash.

The crash remains unexplained.

In Xozumti’s case, Judge Walker balanced aggravating factors such as Xozumti’s speeding and the number of people injured in the crash against mitigating factors such as his lack of previous convictions, remorse and character.

He said: “This is a tragic case involving the death of an entirely innocent person who was simply enjoying a drink with friends and loved ones.

“Three other people also suffered injuries, all as a result of your driving without due care and attention.

“Whatever the court’s sentence today, I cannot change that, there is nothing that I can say or do that will change that.

“I offer my condolences to the friends and family of Stuart McClung for your loss, I offer my wishes for the ongoing recovery to those also harmed as a result of this collision.”

Xozumti was banned from driving for two years.