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BREAKING: Jail for drink-driver who killed Nottingham student William Christmas

A drink-driver knocked over a Nottingham student and left him dying in the road callously claimed he drove off because he thought he would be ok.

Manish Shah was today (Thursday 13 May) locked up for six years, nine months at Nottingham Crown Court.

William Christmas, 19, a first-year student at the University of Nottingham, instead died at the scene of the collision in Derby Road during the early hours of 19 March 2020.

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The politics and international relations undergraduate had been on a night out with friends and had no chance of survival when Shah, of Bearsby Drive in Loughborough, ploughed into him at speed in his silver Ford Focus, completely intoxicated.

William Christmas photo
William Christmas

The 38-year-old drove away without checking his victim or calling 999 and later claimed to police he left because he had heard Mr Christmas talking and thought he would be ok.

Shah drove one mile away to Saxon Green, Lenton, before police found him half-an-hour later in his battered vehicle which was dangerous to drive considering the condition it had been left in from the collision.

Officers established Shah wasn’t insured to drive, his driving licence had expired and the vehicle had no MOT.

He was also clearly heavily intoxicated after being seen trying to manoeuvre the vehicle and was unsteady on his feet while slurring his words.

He declined to provide breath and blood samples but officers obtained a urine sample in custody following his arrest. This was analysed by a forensic science specialist who concluded that Shah was more than likely three times over the legal limit at the time of the collision after his sample, which was collected more than five hours afterwards, contained a minimum of 296mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine. The legal limit is 107mg/100ml.

damage to car

Forensic results also concluded that he would have been driving at around 47mph which is way above the 30mph speed limit.

Shah pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and a separate charge of dangerous driving at Nottingham Crown Court on 16 April 2021. As well as his prison sentence today, he was banned from driving for five years following his release from prison.

A post-mortem examination at the Queen’s Medical Centre confirmed Mr Christmas died at the scene from a head injury and had also suffered several other injuries including broken bones.

The avid field hockey player from Dorset, had been celebrating the breakup from university due to Covid-19. He was with several friends who witnessed him being struck by Shah as he crossed the road.

His family has been left devastated and is too distraught to provide a statement. Family members have asked for absolute privacy at this time.

Sergeant Adam Cooper, who led the serious collision investigation, said: “This has been a very difficult and long road for the family, who will never come to terms with what has happened to their beloved son, grandson and twin brother.

“This incident is a complete tragedy which has seen an innocent young life with so much potential, wrongly taken from his family at the hands of Shah.

“Shah held absolutely no regard for Mr Christmas’s life after leaving him dying in the road. His attitude towards drink-driving showed a total lack of care for the safety of others. The family’s only comfort is that Shah has now rightly gone to prison for a long time as this case comes to an end.

“Not only has he ruined the lives of the Christmas family, he will also have caused great distress to his own.

“We hope that this serves as an example to drink-drivers and dangerous drivers and makes them think twice before getting behind the wheel or driving recklessly. I would strongly encourage the public to challenge anyone they think might be about to drink-drive. The consequences can be devastating.

“At this time our thoughts are with Mr Christmas’s family and friends, both at university and at his hometown of Dorset, who have all been severely affected by his loss.”

A spokesperson for the University of Nottingham said: “William was a valued member of our University community and this was a tragic waste of a young life. Our thoughts remain with William’s family and friends as they continue to come to terms with his devastating loss.”

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