Jonathon Hopkinson hit 22-year-old Alice Birchall’s car at 100mph in a 30mph zone in Leeds in February, 2022 – after she had been allowed to finish her day at work 15 minutes early

A dad who drove at “breathtakingly” excessive speeds down residential roads killed an “inspirational” young woman after smashing into her car.

Jonathon Hopkinson, 35, sped around areas of Leeds at 100mph on June 18, 2022 while over the drink-driving limit and with his young daughter in the car. By a cruel twist of fate Alice Birchall, 22, was allowed to leave work 15 minutes early on the same day, which led her into the speeding path of Hopkinson.

Alice’s Nissan Juke car was hit as she made her way home. A brave man came along and saved Hopkinson and his daughter as well as pulling Alice from the wreckage, reports Leeds Live. However, Ms Birchall suffered catastrophic injuries and died in hospital two days later.

Leeds Crown Court head on Tuesday how Alice had recently landed her dream job after years of struggles and adversity. While prosecutor Michael Smith told the court that just months later, in October 2022, Hopkinson was caught speeding again – this time at 34mph in a 30mph zone.

His Honour Judge Tom Bayliss accepted that, and added: “Despite the consequences [of the collision which killed Alice], you were still exceeding the speed limits.” He jailed Hopkinson for eight years and made him the subject of a 12-year driving disqualification, at the end of which he will required to take an extended retest.

Hopkinson was described as a “confident” driver by a witness who gave evidence to the court. Anna Duffy said: “I felt safe in the car with him. This has affected him deeply. He cannot remember the crash and cannot comprehend why he would drive that way, especially with [his daughter] in the car. It’s mind-boggling.”

Mitigating, Alistair Webster described Hopkinson as a “decent man” and said: “He is a decent man who has to pay for one act that was deeply out of character.” The barrister said: “Nothing I say, nothing will be seen as detracting from the appalling consequences of Jonathon Hopkinson’s driving.

“He has read before coming to court the victim personal statements. He has now heard them. They were moving and took a degree of courage from the two ladies involved that should be recognised. It may be hard to take as a reality that he is a decent man. So those statements were very hard for him and he understands that nothing he can say in terms of remorse or profound apology for what he has done. It is something that will never leave him.”

As he jailed Hopkinson, Judge Bayliss said: “On the June 18, 2022, you Jonathon Hopkinson made a number of choices. You drove to drive when you were over the limit. You chose to carry your daughter as a passenger in the car. You chose to drive at grossly excessive speeds for some considerable distance.

“The speeds showed on the CCTV is breath-taking. Ms Birchall was a much-loved, independent, resilient and determined young woman, who with her sister had experienced and overcome great personal tragedy and adversity. She was popular, she was devoted to her younger sister…The two of them had lost both parents, the two of them had built a future together. She did everything she could to build a life for herself and her sister.”

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