21-year-old drink driver jailed for 18 months after crash which killed good friend and promising Stevenage golfer Jack Mudd as dignified parents speak of their own ‘life sentence’

Jack Kay jailed over the death of Jack Mudd

Jack Kay jailed over the death of Jack Mudd - Credit: Archant

A 21-year-old drink driver has been sent to prison after drink driving and causing a crash which killed his good friend and promising Stevenage golfer Jack Mudd.

Jack Kay was given an 18 month jail term by a judge at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to ‘causing death by careless driving whilst over the drink drive limit’ at an earlier hearing.

The pair had been out drinking in Hitchin town centre in the early hours of Sunday October 4, 2015, when they got into Kay’s car to make the short journey back to Kay’s home just two miles away in Gosmore.

However Kay, who was driving, lost control of the car on a bend in a country road, hit a verge and the car overturned.

Neither were wearing seatbelts and as a result Kay was ejected from the vehicle. Kay suffered slight injuries. Sadly Jack Mudd died at the scene due to multiple injuries having been partially ejected from the vehicle. Following the collision Kay was taken to hospital where he provided a sample of blood which was found to contain 116mg of alcohol, above the legal limit of 80mg.

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Kay’s Peugeot was travelling at a ‘minimum of 40mph going into the bend on Preston Road. Investigating officer PC Shona Gillen, from the Beds, Cambs & Herts Forensic Collision Investigation Unit, said the crash: “Had a devastating effects on Jack Mudd’s parents, family, childhood sweetheart Jess and friends. This was a very tragic incident where sadly Jack Mudd lost his life as a result of his friend drinking and driving.

“That night Jack Kay, for reasons unknown, chose to drive having consumed an amount of alcohol which put him over the drink drive limit and affected his judgement and his ability to drive. Jack Kay now has to live with the consequences of his decision to drink and drive.

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“If you are planning on going out drinking with your friends, leave your car at home. It isn’t worth the risk of either getting caught drink driving or taking someone’s life.

“Preston Road was a road well known to Jack Kay which he had travelled along daily. A small amount of alcohol, whilst you may be under the drink drive limit, will affect your ability to judge distances and speeds. If your designated driver has been drinking, do not get in the car with them – get a taxi or call home.

“Any parent, even at 3am, would rather come and pick you up rather than be woken by a knock on the door from a police officer and be confronted by the devastating news Ann and Dave have had to live with. Think, don’t drink and drive.”

Both friends were aged 19 at the time of the collision and had known each other since the age of eleven.

Jack Mudd, or “Muddy” to his friends, was a promising young golfer from Stevenage who was studying at The Golf College in Sussex. He had won numerous competitions and had won a scholarship to study at university in Florida because of his golfing ability. His ambition was to hopefully turn professional.

His parents Dave and Ann Mudd said: “Living our lives without our son Jack has been sometimes impossible. We still take one day at a time. Jack was our life, our reason to live. Now we somehow have to find a way forward without him here. Jack had a bright and fantastic future ahead of him; he knew exactly what he wanted and worked so hard trying to get there.

“Jack’s death hasn’t just affected us, it has had a ripple effect, from his brother Mark, sister Kirsty, our wider families and his many friends made not just here where he went to school in Stevenage but throughout the country and across the world, through his interest in golf.

“Jack Kay has been sentenced now but on the day of the crash we were handed our own life sentence. Nothing will bring our Jack back and we will never recover from our loss. Our perfect family life has been destroyed forever.

“Jack has lost his life for the cost of a taxi fare. We would appeal to everyone anyone who has had a drink – don’t worry about drink drive limits, just don’t get behind the wheel of a car at all.”

Kay was also banned from driving for two years and will have to take extended retest before driving again.

In Jack’s memory, Dave and Ann have been working hard to continue his passion for golf. They have been working with Knebworth Golf Club, building an academy named after Jack for under 18s. So far they have raised £25,000 for this cause and it is expected that it will be available for local schools to use. Jack’s former secondary school, John Henry Newman in Stevenage, has also named a PE classroom after him.

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