A “SELFISH” drink driver spent an afternoon driving between pubs and downing pints of lager before killing a young woman in a head-on crash.

Robert Lowe, 44, drove to two pubs, drinking six pints and purchasing cans of alcohol later found inside his Seat Altea on October 23, 2020.

He was driving on the wrong side of the C492 Norwich Road, in Barham, at around 6pm when he struck an oncoming Volkswagen Polo driven by 32-year-old Jennifer Baker.

Miss Baker’s car was in the correct lane and her partner was the front-seat passenger.

The court was told the couple were likely returning home from an evening dog walk at the time of the crash.

Miss Baker was pronounced dead at the scene, while her partner suffered catastrophic injuries leaving him in a coma and on a long road to recovery.

Lowe also received serious injuries and a blood test conducted in hospital following the crash found he was twice the drink drive limit of 80mcg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. Low levels of cannabis and morphine were also detected.

READ MORE: Clacton drink-driver admits role in fatal crash

In police interview he was confronted with CCTV footage showing him drinking at two pubs and purchasing alcohol from a shop in the hours before the crash.

A small bag of cannabis was recovered from the glovebox of his car.

Lowe, of Peregrine Close, Clacton, has two convictions for two offences – including a previous conviction for drink driving in 2015.

He admitted a charge of causing death by careless driving while over the legal alcohol limit.

Poignant victim impact statements were read to the court on behalf of Miss Baker’s grieving family, friends and work colleagues.

Echo: Jennifer Baker was pronounced dead at the sceneJennifer Baker was pronounced dead at the scene

One read: “Jennifer will miss out on having a family, something she dreamed of.

“Her children and future generations will never walk this Earth. She would have been a wonderful mum.”

Jennifer’s mum said: “My tears still fall every day, my nights are broken and with it all I am plagued by anxiety.”

Her friends and family added: "No punishment will ever be enough, or in any way compare to the pain and suffering we will have to endure for the rest of our lives."

The court was read a note penned by Lowe in which he said he "cannot understand or explain how he came to be in that car". 

The drink driver said: "There hasn't been one day that's passed where I don't wish I could change places with Miss Baker. 

"Sorry is not enough."

He said he had "always tried to be a good man, but clearly had failed".

"I hope whatever punishment I receive will bring some comfort to the family of Miss Baker," he added.

Condemning Lowe’s “criminal, selfish and thoughtless” behaviour, Judge Emma Peters sentenced the offender to six years and eight months imprisonment.

He was banned from driving for six years and ten months.

Judge Peters said: "Miss Baker was completely sober, capable and doing nothing whatsoever wrong. 

"Unfortunately she was about to suffer the fatal misfortune of being on the same road you were."

She added: "You spent the entirety of the afternoon drinking in different places. This was no momentary lapse on your part."

The judge said the victim impact statements were among "the most moving, heart-rending statements one could possibly imagine". 

She said Miss Baker was clearly much admired by her employers, who had since set up an award in her name. 

Turning to the friends and family of the victim, who attended court to hear the sentence passed, Judge Peters said: "They will never forgive you and I don't blame them for that."

She added: "Nothing this court can do can amend or make up for the unbearable loss you have all suffered. I wish we could bring her back."