A YOUNG drink driver who hospitalised a dog walker and killed his West Highland terrier told his victim he will regret what he did for the rest of his life.

Charles Richard Collins, 22, shared 12 bottles of alcohol with a friend before getting behind the wheel of his campervan and crashing into Andrew Borrill and dog Ben in Poole.

The dog died at the scene and IT consultant Mr Borrill suffered life-threatening injuries, which required an eight-day stay in hospital.

At Bournemouth Crown Court yesterday, the defendant’s barrister suggested a suspended sentence could be imposed, however, Judge Stephen Climie said this would be “wholly inappropriate” in the circumstances.

Bournemouth Echo: Charles Collins pleaded guilty to the offences at a Poole Magistrates' Court hearing last monthCharles Collins pleaded guilty to the offences at a Poole Magistrates' Court hearing last month

The judge said the case “demonstrated and amplified” the dangers of getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.

“The factor I find overwhelming is the need to ensure there is full and public awareness of the consequences of behaviour of this nature,” Judge Climie said.

The defendant previously pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, criminal damage (for killing Ben), drink driving and driving while unfit through drugs.

He was jailed for 14 months and disqualified from driving for four years and seven months.

During the hearing, Collins, who works as a chef, read a letter he had written to Mr Borrill.

Speaking from the dock in a grey suit, the former Poole Grammar School pupil said it was not possible to explain how “deeply sad and devastated” he had felt.

Bournemouth Echo: Charles Collins leaving Poole Magistrates' Court last monthCharles Collins leaving Poole Magistrates' Court last month

He said he thinks about what happened every day, he apologised for what he had done and he said he would accept the sentence imposed by the court.

“I take total responsibility for getting into my car whilst under the influence of alcohol and drugs, which is something I have never done before,” Collins said.

He added: “I will regret this mistake for the rest of my life.”

Prosecutor Edward Hollingsworth said Collins had driven to the Budgens at Creekmoor service station at 5am on September 19 last year where he bought a crate of 12 bottles of Heineken.

He and a friend parked up in the Talbot Express campervan and drank the beers before leaving the service station at 8.45am as he needed to get to work.

Bournemouth Echo: West Highland terrier BenWest Highland terrier Ben

Twenty minutes later Collins mounted the pavement in Compton Avenue and hit Mr Borrill and eight-year-old Ben.

The dog died at the scene, while IT consultant Mr Borrill suffered life-threatening injuries, which are likely to affect him for the rest of his life.

He had operations and treatment for a brain bleed, torn ear that required stitches, a broken tooth, neck fractures, four further operations for dislocated toes, cuts and bruises all across his body.

Bournemouth Echo: Andrew BorrillAndrew Borrill

Mitigating, Harry Garside said what the defendant had done had shocked his client to his core.

“He needs and deserves punishment,” Mr Garside said.

He said Collins had been persuaded to go to a friend’s birthday celebration the night before the crash where he intended to have one drink and leave, however, one drink turned into “many more”.

“He returned to his campervan, continued chatting and drinking with a friend,” Mr Garside said.

The defendant’s barrister added: “Regrettably he doesn’t recall the collision – he didn’t remember it.

“He cannot state as to why he drove in the manner that he did.”

Mr Garside said: “This is an exemplar case of the dangers of drink driving.”

He said his young client with no previous convictions ended the day having caused “immeasurable harm as a result of his stupidity”.

Bournemouth Echo: Collins was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday, June 10Collins was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday, June 10

Judge Climie said he had reached a starting point for the offences of two-and-a-half years' imprisonment.

This was before he took into account the full one-third credit for guilty pleas, the defendant's age and immaturity and his remorse, which were all factors that had to be considered as set out by the Sentencing Council.

The judge concluded that the starting point sentence should be reduced to an overall sentence of 14 months' imprisonment.

At the start of his sentencing remarks, Judge Climie told Collins: "Before going any further this case is more about Mr Borrill and his family than it is about you and yours."

He went on to say: "Everyone should wish him (Mr Borrill) well for the future and the family."

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