Off-duty paramedic driver killed cyclist after 10 pints of Guinness

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·4 min read
Robert Woodruff, 36, killed Richard Goodwin, 56, after getting behind the wheel of his car while more than twice the drink drive limit. (Reach)
Robert Woodruff, 36, killed Richard Goodwin, 56, after getting behind the wheel of his car while more than twice the drink drive limit. (Reach)

An "idiot" paramedic who was twice over the drink-drive limit when he killed a cyclist after veering onto the wrong side of the road has been jailed.

Robert Woodruff, 36, had drunk 10 pints of Guinness before getting behind the wheel of his red Nissan Juke SUV after failing to get a taxi, ignoring his wife who pleaded with him not to drive.

Wanting to attend a BBQ of another paramedic he had not been invited to, Woodruff was checking his phone for messages when he hit Richard Goodwin, 56, who was cycling on the A1033 at Ottringham, East Riding of Yorkshire.

The property developer and dad-of-five suffered horrific injuries in the "catastrophic" and "devastating" accident on the evening of 26 June last year, and died almost immediately at the scene, Hull Crown Court was told.

Witnesses said Woodruff had been driving like an "idiot" at about 80mph, before creeping onto the opposite side of the road and hitting Mr Goodwin without braking.

There was a "loud bang" and Mr Goodwin was carried on the windscreen for about 70 metres.

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(Reach)
Robert Woodruff was jailed for five years and eight months. (Reach)

The Nissan continued onto a verge, became airborne, cleared a water culvert and careered along undergrowth and across a cycle path before ending up in the front garden of a nearby cottage.

Mr Goodwin was discovered in nearby undergrowth.

Woodruff admitted causing death by dangerous driving, and was jailed for five years and four months, and banned from driving for seven years and eight months.

Jeremy Evans, prosecuting, said Woodruff said in the aftermath of the incident: "I f****d up. I have proper f****d up this time. I am in a proper mess. I was reaching down to check my phone. I was driving to see my girlfriend. I swerved."

A roadside breath test revealed that he had 77mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg. A blood test two hours and 40 minutes later showed 172mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

He said: "I felt like I was in control. I didn't think I was doing anything dangerous. I wasn't doing anything dangerous on that road, in my opinion."

He had been a paramedic since 2014 and had driven ambulances without problems, including being an advanced driver and a blue-light driver, with an "impeccable record".

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(Reach)
Richard Goodwin was hit at around 80mph. (Reach)

After being suspended as a paramedic, Woodruff worked as a delivery driver.

Mr Goodwin's children said their dad had been "reduced to nothing but a memory" after his death.

Youngest son Oliver Goodwin, 19, said: "These past months have been the hardest months I have ever had to experience."

Oliver added his father was his "best friend" who never failed to make him laugh and feel safe.

"My Dad loved me and all my siblings," he added.

"It has affected me in so many different ways. I lie awake thinking of what it must have been like for my Dad. I have dreams that he is still alive. I still send him text messages, knowing that he will never reply."

Eldest son Samuel Goodwin said that his father was an "ever-present force for good".

He had nothing but fond memories of him and had the sorrow of the thought that he would never be able to speak to him again.

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(Reach)
Robert Woodruff said "I f****d up" after hitting Mr Goodwin. (Reach)

"My life has been irrevocably changed," he said. It had been replaced by "numbness and pain" caused by the "selfish actions" of Woodruff.

Charlotte Baines, mitigating, said that Woodruff admitted making "unforgivable mistakes" and apologised for destroying families by his "idiocy" and its "devastating" and "catastrophic" results.

"I can never make amends for what I have done," he said. "My life and many other lives are never going to be the same."

Miss Baines said that Woodruff had not minimised what he had done. "He can never fully atone for his selfish and foolish actions that have had devastating consequences," she said. "He has caused damage that he knows can never be repaired. He had a monumental lapse of judgement, to say the least."

He had been married before getting divorced, had two daughters, aged nine and seven, and was "highly regarded and well thought-of" by those who knew him.

Jailing Woodruff, Judge Mark Bury said: "Richard's death has left a great void in the lives of his family and that will never be filled," said Judge Bury.

"They have suffered greatly in the aftermath of their father's death.

"Their grief is unimaginable and long-standing. We can't turn the clock back. No sentence I impose will restore Richard Goodwin to his life, nor will it assuage the immense grief of his nearest and dearest."

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