Heartbroken Derbyshire wife tells how death of husband by a drink-driver has devastated her family

The heartbroken wife of a much-loved man who was tragically killed by a dangerous drink-driver has told how she has lost her soulmate and their children and family have been left devastated.

By Jon Cooper
Monday, 22 July, 2019, 10:11

Derby Crown Court heard on July 18 how Blake Kerry, 26, of Rye Crescent, Danesmoor, near Clay Cross, careered off the road after a collision into 61-year-old pedestrian Julian Fisher on Ashover Road, at Tupton.

Mr Fisher’s wife Jane said the loss of her husband, lover, best friend, soulmate and father of their two children Josh and Jessica has been devastating for her and her family and friends.

In her victim personal statement, read out in court by son Josh, she stated: “Everyday I wake up feeling helplessness knowing I have to face impossible tasks without his help.

Pictured is Blake Kerry, 26, of Rye Crescent, Danesmoor, near Clay Cross, who has been jailed for five years after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving while he was over the drink-drive limit.

“I find it hard to eat and I have lost weight. I keep seeing my lovely Julian lifeless on a hospital trolley. Unable to speak to me to tell me what to do.”

She added: “A total stranger has taken away my Julian’s life and with that the life we had made for our future together.”

Prosecuting barrister Andrew Vout said Kerry had been driving a BMW Series 1 towards North Wingfield between 9pm and 9.30pm, on December 7, 2018, as Mr Fisher was walking to the Tupton Tap pub after his wife had walked some of the way with him with their dog.

Mr Vout added that Kerry had been drinking and had been taking a detour to avoid police when he tried to negotiate a roundabout at speed.

Pictured is Ashover Road, Tupton.

Kerry had found himself on the wrong side of the road, according to Mr Vout, where he intended to overtake a VW but there was an on-coming Suzuki which took evasive action but the two vehicles collided.

Mr Vout said Kerry’s BMW careered off the road into a wall and a lamppost, and Mr Fisher was found lying on the ground where witnesses covered him in blankets but he died soon afterwards.

CCTV showed Kerry running away from the scene and he managed to hitch a lift and after he had spoke to two friends and his father he handed himself in to police later that evening.

Kerry, who has previous convictions, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and to exceeding the alcohol drink-drive limit and the court heard he had also been driving without insurance.

Pictured is Blake Kerry, 26, of Rye Crescent, Danesmoor, Chesterfield, who has pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Mrs Fisher stated that she and Mr Fisher had been childhood sweethearts and the best day of her life had been their wedding day and the worst of her life had been the day her husband had been killed by the selfish actions of Kerry.

She added: “I know my own life has been ruined. Julian and I were as close as two people can be.”

Mrs Fisher stated that every night she hugs her husband’s pillow and cries herself to sleep and while she wants to stay strong for her family she wants to scream at her pain and loss.

Pictured is Derby Crown Court.

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Mr and Mrs Fisher had been looking forward to celebrating their daughter Jessica’s 21st birthday and Mr Fisher had been aiming to semi-retire so he could spend more time with his family.

The family, which runs a business in Matlock, has also had to endure the heartache of repeatedly explaining to customers what had happened to Mr Fisher.

She added: “It’s heartbreaking to see my children suffer the stress and pain of having their father ripped from their lives and not having him there to guide them in their future.”

Mrs Fisher explained Josh and Julian were very close and Josh had been learning so much from his father and they had been repairing a tractor together.

She stated: “Every evening Josh sits by his father’s grave side and talks to him and asks for him.

“But the truth - deep down inside - is that he knows he will never hear his father’s voice again or benefit from his wisdom and guidance.”

The court room - which was packed with over two dozen family and friends of both Mr Fisher and Kerry - was drawn to tears during Mrs Fisher’s statement after it was bravely read by her son Josh.

Mr Fisher also supported Ashover Primary School, according to Mrs Fisher, and he was such a popular and well-loved man that more than 500 people attended his funeral.

Defence barrister Raglan Ashton, representing Kerry, said: “He understands that it is a responsibility he will bear throughout his life in the knowledge that he has caused untold pain, heartache and suffering to a very significant number of people.”

Mr Ashton added: “He’s been made painfully aware that the effects of his driving and the effect of his actions don’t stop when he’s released.

“And for those that loved Mr Fisher, the effects will be on-going throughout their natural lives and that is not lost on him.”

Mr Ashton added that Kerry has suffered with mental health issues after a friend took his own life and the brother of that friend had later died in a road traffic collision.

Kerry has also expressed genuine remorse, according to Mr Ashton, and he understands the effects his actions have had on so many people including his own family.

In a letter to the court, Kerry stated: “Every day I wake up from one nightmare to another and this guilt will never leave me.

“I do not think Julian’s family will hate me as much as I hate myself.

“I know their lives will never be the same and I know I have broken my family’s hearts as well.”

Kerry was sentenced to five years of custody and banned him from driving for ten years.

Judge Smith QC said: “There is no price on human life. There never can be. Nor can a sentence be measured by revenge.

“Whatever I do will never bring back Mr Fisher for those who love and continue to love him. I wish it could.”