Man arrested in Pevensey Bay months after causing death by drug-driving has jail sentence increased

A drug-driver who was arrested in Pevensey Bay who caused a crash which killed a man in Hastings has had his prison sentence increased by the Court of Appeal, Sussex Police has confirmed.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 9:45 am

A drug-driver arrested in Pevensey Bay who caused a crash which killed a man in Hastings has had his prison sentence increased by the Court of Appeal, Sussex Police has confirmed.

Christopher Fenton, 40, of Lower Waites Lane, Fairlight, was more than three times the legal limit for cannabis when the tragic incident happened on Fairlight Road, Fairlight, at around 6.45pm on March 6, 2020.

Police said, Fenton, who was driving an Audi S4 westbound, clipped the wing mirror of a Volkswagen Polo travelling in the opposite direction, before mounting the nearside verge and then crossing into the path of an oncoming Citroen Picasso.

Photo from Sussex Police SUS-210707-090451001
Photo from Sussex Police SUS-210707-090451001

The Picasso was being driven by Marcus Haynes, 65, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, who sadly died from his injuries at the scene. His wife, aged 66, suffered serious injuries and their son, aged 24, from Stroud in Gloucestershire, sustained minor injuries.

Fenton ran away from the scene but was later returned by his mother. He also suffered serious injuries and blood tests at hospital revealed he was just under the legal limit for drink driving, but was over the drug-drive limit.

An investigation found he was travelling at around 76mph in a 60mph zone prior to the collision.

Despite being arrested for causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving, he continued to drive under the influence after being released under investigation. On November 18 he was arrested in Pevensey Bay and he was over the drug-drive limit then. He was eventually jailed for three years and eight months at Lewes Crown Court on Monday, May 10. He was also disqualified from driving for five years and 10 months.

The sentence was appealed, and at the Court of Appeal yesterday (July 6), it was increased to five years and three months. His driving disqualification period was also extended to six years and seven months, Sussex Police said.

The court agreed the original sentence was unduly lenient for reasons including the seriousness of the injuries sustained by Mrs Haynes, which were not properly taken into account, and that Fenton only returned to the scene because of his mother, and more weight should have been placed on this, a police spokesman said.

Detective Sergeant Rob Baldwin, from Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said, “It is unusual for us to refer a case to the Attorney General, but we strongly felt that the sentence in this case did not reflect the seriousness of the crime.

“The unduly lenient sentence scheme is only available for specific serious offences, and requests are considered by the Attorney General who will decide on whether to refer a case to the Court of Appeal.

“I hope that the increase in sentence will be of some comfort to the family of Marcus Haynes, and a deterrent to those who may consider driving whilst under the influence of drugs.”