Cymau man's grieving parents tell of drink-drive heartbreak

Published date: 03 December 2013 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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THE North Wales Police Christmas anti drink drive campaign will be based on the avoidable death of plumber and bodybuilder Kieran Lea Arnold.

A contestant in the Mr Wales Body Building Championships, Kieran, of Cymau on the Flintshire-Wrexham border, had no chance when confronted by a drink-driver who careered onto the wrong side of the road and struck his works van
head on.

His vehicle was pushed through a wall and it then plunged down an embankment and ended up on its roof. Kieran, 21, died at the scene on the Plas Teg bends on the Wrexham to Mold Road.

Last month, drink-driver Robert Bryn Williams was jailed for five years and four months after he admitted causing death by careless driving, under the influence of alcohol.

He was more than twice the drink- drive limit when he caused the fatal crash in June and Kieran’s death, which left his family numb and devastated.

His parents, David and Donna Lea – who have two other younger sons aged nine and six – have agreed the absolute horror and agony of his death should be told to drive home the message to motorists not to take the risk of drinking and driving.

Mrs Lea, a nurse, said they as a family were pleased to help launch the Christmas anti-drink and drive campaign launched today.

She said if it only helped one family, made one person think to take a taxi home or to drink a soft drink, then it would have been worthwhile.

“I would not wish this on my worst enemy,” she said. “We don’t want Kieran’s death to be in vain.

“It may prevent someone else from being in this position, from going through what we have been through these last few months.”

Fallowing the case, the couple called on Prime Minister David Cameron to get tougher on drink drivers and said they felt let down by the legal system in the UK.

Mr Lea, a computer analyst, said: “The sentence doesn’t match the loss of such a precious life.”

He stressed the family appreciated the work the police did in building the case and the effort the Crown Prosecution Service made to try  to push for a higher sentence.

“We even accept that the judge was trying his hardest – but it is the British legal system in general that has tied the judge’s hands,” he said.

“If you plead guilty, a third is instantly wiped from your sentence.”

Mrs Lea said North Wales Police, in-particular their family liaison officer, had helped them through some very difficult times.

“We want to thank them for all their support. It’s just a shame after all their effort, the final hurdle, because of the British legal structure, doesn’t do all their hard work the justice it deserves.”

She said their family liaison officer, herself a traffic officer, had been “their rock”.

It was she who first knocked on the door to give them the heartbreaking news and had been with them every step of the way since.

Mr Lea said: “There are times when we would not have got through this without her. She has been so good to the children as well. It is difficult at times for adults to understand what is happening.

“She has shown so much empathy.We think that what she has done is admirable.”

Mr Lea said as parents no sentence would ever have been enough for them.

“But we regard the sentence as an insult for taking our son’s life,” he said. “He was a clean living young man who trained hard, he would weigh his food out and keep himself fit.”

Mrs Lea added: “We are the ones who have been given the life sentence.”

She said Kieran was a law-abiding, hard-working young man who worked all hours to build a future and had the world at his feet, when he was so cruelly taken away from them.

He did not drink alcohol, he loved sport and was focussed on that.

More than 400 people attended his funeral and £1,000 was raised for Hope House Children’s Hospice.

His parents said he loved children and already talked of having children of his own one day.

Mrs Lea said: “He and his girlfriend Lizzie were very happy and looked forward to the future. But this has all been wiped out.

“It’s so final, isn’t it? This is all gone now. Kieran’s future plans will never happen".

Despite the trauma they still feel Kieran will walk in through the door, but know he never will.

l Williams, a HGV driver with drug and alcohol problems, of Alyn Terrace, Wrexham Road, Pontblyddyn, pleaded guilty to causing the death of Kieran on June 17 by driving the Land Rover Discovery without due care and attention on the A541 at Pontblyddyn, at a time when he was above the drink-drive limit.

A breath test at the scene showed he had 81 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, compared to the legal limit of 35mgs and a blood test in hospital two-and-a-half hours later showed he had 132 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood compared to the legal limit of 80mgs.

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