Breaking Midsomer Norton Somerset

A Somerset drink-driver has had his sentence increased following an intervention by the Attorney General, Rt Hon Michael Ellis QCMP

Matthew Shaw, 35, drove through a red light at an excess speed of 60mph and crashed into another vehicle being driven by Jennifer Sell, 20, who died at the scene. Shaw’s passenger was also injured.

The accident took place at a ‘T’ junction between Hayes Park Road and Northmead Road (which has an upper speed limit of 30mph) in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, at around 10.30pm on 31 July 2019. Shaw subsequently failed a roadside breath test and later refused a preliminary drugs test at the police station.

On 4 November 2020, Shaw took his partner’s Mercedes vehicle, on which he was not insured, and was involved in another collision on the A371 between Evercreech and Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Shaw’s car veered onto the opposite side of the road, facing oncoming traffic, and caused a collision with another vehicle, which suffered damage.

Prior to these offences, Shaw had 8 convictions for multiple driving offences, including for driving a vehicle with excess alcohol, dangerous driving, driving whilst uninsured, failure to cooperate with a preliminary breath test and failure to provide a fluid specimen.

Shaw pleaded guilty to the above offences and was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, failure to cooperate with a preliminary drugs test, aggravated vehicle taking and of driving a vehicle without insurance.

On 20 January 2021, Shaw was sentenced to 7 years and 5 months’ imprisonment at Bristol Crown Court. Following the Court’s decision, the Attorney General referred Shaw’s sentence to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme. On 20 April 2021, the Court ruled that the sentence was unduly lenient and increased it to 8 years and 9 months’ imprisonment.

After the hearing at the Court of Appeal the Attorney General, Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC MP, said:

Shaw’s dangerous and irresponsible driving led to the death of a young woman with her entire life before her. I referred his sentence because I felt it to be too low, and I am glad that the Court of Appeal chose to increase it today.