A heartbroken mother has released the last photo of her daughter, taken just 20 minutes before she was mowed down and killed by a drunk driver in a hit-and-run.
Nature-loving Fenella Hawes, 20, was carrying sunflowers to give to her mother Margaret when a car driven by Malcolm Waite, 68, drove up a curb and hit her.
The student was pronounced dead at the scene, despite desperate efforts to save her after the collision at Stalham on the Norfolk Broads.
Ms Hawes posted the photo of her daughter smiling and posing with her flowers after Waite, who had nearly five times the drinking limit, was jailed for eight years.
The devastated mother said she ‘sobbed every day’ at the loss of her daughter, a promising student who had studied natural sciences at Lancaster University and was due to travel to Honduras on a trip to which she received a scholarship.
“I’m sobbing because she was so happy: she was so beautiful inside and out, she was so alive and now she’s gone and never will be. I never got the chance to say goodbye,’ Ms Hawes said in a victim impact statement.
Fenella Hawes, 20, was carrying sunflowers to give to her mother Margaret when she was killed by a drunk driver during a hit-and-run
A 16-year-old girl who was walking with her was also hit but escaped with cuts and bruises in the accident on the A149 road at 4.30pm on July 31 this year.
Waite of Hoveton, Norfolk, admitted causing death by dangerous driving at Norwich Crown Court. He was also banned from driving for seven years.
The court heard he did not stop after hitting Fenella. He continued driving his Lexus RX SUV for another mile and only stopped when it collided with a traffic sign, trees and shrubs.
Officers found him sitting in the driver’s seat and smelling strongly of alcohol with a half-drunk bottle of vodka next to him.
Footage from a body camera worn by an officer showed him scrambling for words and falsely accusing the officer of insulting him.
Officers found Malcolm Waite, 68, sitting in the driver’s seat and smelling strongly of alcohol with a half-drunk bottle of vodka next to him
Waite, a retired computer engineer, refused to provide a breath test before being arrested and taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston near Great Yarmouth.
Four hours later, a test at Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Center revealed he had 120mcg of alcohol on his breath.
Officers calculated it would have been around 158mcg if they had been caught at the roadside after the accident. The legal limit is 35 mcg.
The police investigation found that Waite’s vehicle was not faulty and the weather and road conditions were clear and good.
During police interrogations, he did not respond with any comments to each question.
The court heard how Fenella and the teenager were driving home from work when they were hit by Waite after witnesses saw his car veer across the road.
Ms Hawes described the loss of her daughter in her statement, saying: “I sob every day, when I wake up, throughout the day at random times for no apparent reason and when I go to bed at night.”
Fenella was a promising student who had taken natural science courses at Lancaster University, where she had received a scholarship to go to Honduras. Police described her as a ‘remarkable young woman’
“I’m sobbing because I’ll never see Fenella again, I’ll never see his beaming smile or hear him laugh, I’ll never tell him about his day or his plans for the future, I’ll never help him cheering up when she is sad or chatting with her i will never take long walks with her again i will never be able to sit with her in front of our fire again it will never be the same.
“I imagine her walking, so happy to carry sunflowers for me, and then being knocked down by the car.
“I’m sobbing for the future she doesn’t have because a drunk man chose to get in a car, knowing it was a gun that could kill someone, and it indeed was. He killed my 20 year old daughter.
“She was a young adult just starting her life and her bright future was shattered in seconds by someone who didn’t think or care.”
Andrew Oliver, defending, said Waite had a long history of depression and alcohol problems.
He and his wife had moved from Leicestershire to Norfolk during the pandemic, but he had moved due to his erratic behavior and she had sought a restraining order against him.
Mr Oliver added: “He feels intense remorse for what he did.” He knows he has caused intense pain to Fenella’s family and friends.
Detective Inspector David McCormack, of Norfolk Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said after the hearing: ‘This is a tragedy, and it was entirely preventable.
“I implore anyone who thinks it’s okay to have a drink and then drive, remember the heartbreaking and devastating consequences of drunk driving so evident in this case.” Waite’s decision to drink and drive changed lives forever.
“The teenager who, with Fenella, came home from work that day is traumatized by what happened.
PC Callum Walchester, who arrested Waite at the scene, said: ‘I’ve been a PC for 10 years and worked in road policing for almost six years, and he was the most drunk person I’ve ever seen. ever seen driving a car”
“Waite will have to live the rest of his life knowing that he took on the life of a remarkable young woman who had so much to offer and so much she wanted to achieve. He caused so much pain to so many people.
PC Callum Walchester, who arrested Waite at the scene, said: ‘I’ve been a PC for 10 years and worked in highway policing for almost six years, and he was the most drunk person I’ve ever had. ever seen driving a car. ‘
Fenella received a posthumous first-class degree from her university following the tragedy.
Her family paid an earlier tribute at the time of her death saying she would be “deeply missed by all who knew and loved her”.
Their statement added, “She made our world a better place with her quick wit and brightened our lives with her laughter and quirky sense of humor.
“She couldn’t pass a cat without stopping for a photo op and couldn’t wait to go to the cat cafe with her boyfriend.
“His love of the environment and nature showed in his enjoyment of local walks in the woods, the beach and lately the lakes.
“She was a successful student and had completed two years of natural science studies at university and had taken a trip to Honduras, funded by a scholarship she had received, planned for the future.