Driver was twice over the alcohol limit

It was a decision that would end up with a man losing his life and a pensioner spending seven years behind bars.

On that fateful afternoon of November 18 last year, Alison Bowen decided to drive from her friends house in Lamberhurst to her home in Queen Elizabeth Close, Battle.

Twice over the limit, she knocked down and killed cyclist Paul Novak at 4.30pm on the A21 at John’s Cross. She then drove on for five miles thinking it was just a badger.

The 61-year-old struck him with such force that her windscreen shattered and the front of her Fiat Punto was caved in but later told officers she thought she had only hit a badger.

The front of her car had suffered such severe damage that Bowen’s knuckles had been cut by the splintered windscreen rubbing against her hands as she drove on after hitting Mr Novak.

With Mr Novak lying dead in the road, she continued in her wrecked car until she got to Marley Lane in Battle where she came to a halt on a grass verge. Mr Novak, 50, (pictured) of West Hill Road, St Leonards, died at the scene.

Bowen admitted causing death by driving without due care and attention while over the drink drive limit. She was also banned from driving for two years.

Ann Novak, Mr Novak’s mother, who lives in Bexhill, said: “My only son Paul had his life snuffed out in seconds through no fault of his own.

“No sentence will ever be enough to take away the pain I feel that I will not get the chance to spend the rest of my life with him. I still cannot come to terms with the fact that Paul is no longer with us. I have been given great support by my family, friends and the police but nothing can prepare you for the death of your child and nothing takes away the sorrow.

“Paul was more relaxed and happy than he had been for years when he was taken from us. I feel robbed that I won’t get to enjoy this phase of his life with him all because of the selfish actions of Alison Bowen.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that stopped at the scene of the crash and tried to help Paul. Thanks to the medical staff that did everything they could to try and save his life.”

Defence QC, Laura Plant said Bowen had been under stress from family problems and had been caring for her mother who was living with her at the time of the incident and that for Bowen to drink and drive was “entirely out of character.”

Sergeant Dan Pitcher said: “Paul Novak was the innocent victim of a woman who selfishly decided to drink and then drive home. She was so drunk when she struck Mr Novak that she did not even know what she had done.”