Link road killer jailed – he was high on drink and drugs when he ploughed into cyclist

A man has been jailed for killing one man and seriously injuring another in two separate incidents.

Mathew Gardiner – also known as George Gardiner – was high on drink and drugs when he collided with a cyclist at about 100mph on the A2690 Combe Valley Way, near Bexhill, on May 26th last year.

He had overtaken two vehicles at high speed before manoeuvring back into the correct carriageway, where he collided with an electric bicycle ridden by Antoney Colley. The 53-year-old victim, who was a night security officer, of Sewell Avenue, Bexhill, was sadly declared dead at the scene.

After testing positive for both drink and drugs at the roadside, Gardiner, 35, a construction worker, of Preston Road, Bexhill, was arrested.

While in custody, he told officers he had been on a drinking binge the previous day, consuming between 15 and 20 pints of beer, as well as numerous shots. He also admitted taking cocaine and said he had been up for 24 hours without sleep.

The court was told Gardiner answered ‘no comment’ to all questions put to him in police interview, but was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving;

While awaiting trial, Gardiner was arrested and charged with committing grievous bodily harm, following a separate incident in Robertson Street, Hastings, on the evening of January 24th.

He was identified on CCTV as being responsible for an assault on a 46-year-old man from St Leonards.

The victim was struck to the face, causing him to fall and hit his head on the ground. He underwent emergency surgery, and has since lost vision in one eye, and now has limited vision in his other eye.

Gardiner pleaded guilty to both offences, and at Lewes Crown Court on Friday August 28th, he was sentenced to a total of 13 years and six months’ imprisonment.

He was also disqualified from driving for 12-and-a-half years, and must take an extended re-test if he wishes to drive in the future.

Acting Inspector Dan Pitcher, of the Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “This man has destroyed the lives of two people through his flagrant violation for the law and the safety of the general public.

“By driving under the influence of drink and drugs, and at a speed well in excess of the legal limit, he clearly posed a significant risk to himself and all other road users on the day he tragically killed Antoney Colley.

“In a separate incident, he left another man with life-changing injuries.

“While nothing can change past events, we hope his sentence brings some closure to the family and friends of Antoney Colley, and to the victim of the assault.

“We also hope it serves as a stark warning to others about the seriousness of driving not in accordance with the law.

“Speeding and drink or drug-driving, along with mobile phone use, not wearing a seatbelt and careless driving, are the five most common causes of serious injury and fatal collisions in Sussex. Educate yourself before it’s too late. Don’t let your next journey be your last.”

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