Drunk driver jailed over death crash in Manor Park

�A drunk driver who careered into a bus killing one of her passengers after driving “like she was in a video game” has been jailed for nearly five years.

Rosie Petherick, 22, overtook other cars at twice the 30mph speed limit before smashing into a double decker in High Street North, Manor Park.

Mother of one Petherick was also twice over the drink driving limit at the time of the crash.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard a passenger in Petherick’s Ford Ka, died instantly.

Three other passengers –Leah Sinclair, Reiss Gale and Petherick’s boyfriend, Brian Murphy, were also left with serious injuries after the collision around midnight on June 25 last year.

Petherick was knocked unconscious and pulled out of the car by a shocked onlooker, but suffered no permanent injuries.

She had bought the car for �600 after she passed her test five months earlier but it had failed its MOT.

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In a victim impact statement, the family of Zeeshan Choudhary, from Romford, described him as “a loving son, brother and friend” adding “Our hearts weigh heavy with his loss.”

Sentencing Petherick to four years and nine months in prison, Judge Inigo Bing said: “No sentence of this court can reconcile or help the family of Mr Choudhary, who died so tragically.”

“But the sentence must reflect the feelings of the public that the needless taking of life must not go unpunished.

“There are three aggravating factors in this case – the gross excessive speed, the excessive consumption of alcohol which made you a danger and hazard on the road and overtaking.”

“I accept there may have been an element of encouragement but you should have resisted that. Your driving was dangerous, reckless and irresponsible and fuelled by alcohol and you had complete disregard for other road users.”

The judge also banned Petherick from driving for five years. She wept as the sentence was passed.

Prosecuting, Lee Ingham told the court: “Petherick had been drinking with some friends after meeting up at about 9pm at Mr Choudhary’s recording studio.”

“Everyone except Ms Sinclair was drunk and had consumed a small and a large bottle of brandy between them at the studio. The off-licence wasn’t very far away and could have been reached by walking, but tragically she drove and the others agreed to be passengers.”

“A bottle of brandy was bought and the events occurred on the way back to the studio.”

“During this part of the trip Ms Sinclair became concerned about the manner of driving and offered to drive,” Mr Ingham said. “That offer was refused. Some of the boys in the back were encouraging Ms Petherick to overtake other cars and she initially said no but then responded to that encouragement. Her driving became faster and more erratic and she overtook three cars. She said she felt like she was in a video game.”

Ms Sinclair asked Petherick to slow down but she simply turned the music up, the court heard. As she tried to overtake the third car, she lost control and crashed into the bus.

Mr Choudhary suffered fatal injuries on the road and paramedics at the scene say he died instantly.

Margaret Russell, defending, said Petherick had been left “absolutely devastated” by Mr Choudhary’s death.

“This is a case which is a genuine tragedy and is horrendous for everyone concerned. Right from the start Ms Petherick was absolutely devastated and she needed counselling.”

Petherick, from Romford, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and drink driving.