A Spalding woman who killed her partner when she drove for 200 metres with him clinging to the bonnet of her car before braking sharply has been jailed for ten years.
Mum-of-two Alison Skingsly, 43, claimed she suddenly applied the brakes on her Peugeot 307 to avoid a pigeon.
But a jury rejected her defence and found her guilty of manslaughter after hearing Skingsly became convinced her partner, Kevin Nix, was flirting with another woman in the Crowland pub where they were drinking.
Mr Nix, 46, who was described in court as a ‘teddy bear’, stood in front of the car and then climbed onto the bonnet in a bid to stop Skingsly driving while over the limit.
The father-of-three was thrown from the car and his head struck the road surface leaving him with traumatic brain injuries. He did not regain consciousness and died three days later in hospital.
Police were alerted because he managed to use his mobile phone to make a 999 call police while on the bonnet.
Officers arrived at the scene to find him unconscious and bleeding from his head.
Skingsly was aggressive towards officers and claimed she had been assaulted by Mr Nix.
The mum-of-two failed a breath test producing a reading of 64 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls of breath putting her over the legal limit of 35 mgs.
Skingsly was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter at the end of a trial at Lincoln Crown Court last month. The jury rejected her claim that she braked to avoid a bird.
She broke down in tears as she was sentenced by video link from custody.
Passing sentence Judge John Pini QC told Skingsly he was quite satisfied that she had not been assaulted by Mr Nix and it was a “serious case of manslaughter.”
The judge told her: “Staff at the pub were horrified by what they saw.
“Your car left the pub with Kevin Nix clinging to the bonnet.
“Indeed Mr Nix was heard to say ‘are you trying to kill me.'”
The judge told Skingsly she ignored those pleas and did little to help Mr Nix after he fell from the car.
Moving victim impact statements which were read out in court described how Mr Nix’s two daughters still suffered nightmares after visiting him in hospital before his life support was turned off.
The family’s tragedy was made worse by the fact Mr Nix was the last remaining of his parent’s three sons. His mother described his death as “needless and cruel.”
During her trial Skingsly appeared by video link from Peterborough Prison where she has been held in custody. The jury was told she has a serious back condition which prevented her from travelling.
Mr Nix, who stood five feet seven inches tall and weighed 16 stone, was described as a “teddy bear”. He had been in a relationship with Skingsly in 2013 following the breakdown of their respective marriages.
The couple, who had been discussing getting wed, spent the afternoon and early evening of the fatal incident drinking at the Olde Bridge Inn at Crowland near Peterborough where they had been regulars for several years.
After her arrest Skingsly told police she had no option but to brake suddenly after she spotted a pigeon in front of her. In an interview she said “He got on the bonnet. Then a pigeon was on the road so I put my foot on the brake and he slipped off onto the road.”
And during her eight day trial she told the jury: “I didn’t mean to brake like that. It was the first time I’d driven the car since new brakes were on. The pigeon was flying straight at the car. It flew from over the trees.
“The pigeon was coming towards the windscreen. Kevin shouted to stop so I stopped.”
She said she was forced to drive to get away for her own safety after Mr Nix hit her after they argued when she accused him of flirting with another woman.
James Thomas, prosecuting, told the jury at Lincoln Crown Court: “Alison Skingsly had been in a relationship with Kevin Nix since 2013.
“On Sunday, June 24, 2018 they went together to the Olde Bridge Inn pub near Crowland. It was a location they had frequented on a number of occasions previously.
“That afternoon they travelled there in their Peugeot 307.
“Following an afternoon drinking at the pub an argument developed.
“At one stage they were sat at the bar. There were others in the bar and at one stage they were sat with Vanessa Clack. Miss Skingsly convinced herself that Mr Nix was flirting with Vanessa Clack.”
Mr Thomas said that Skingsly was heard to say to Mr Nix “Why did you tell her you’re not married?”
Skingsly stormed off but both Mr Nix and Ms Clack unsuccessfully tried to calm her concerns.
Skingsly then got into her car and tried to drive off.
“Mr Nix climbed onto the bonnet and gripped the top of the bonnet.
“Whilst his actions were perhaps ill-advised as regards his own safety his intentions were to try and stop Alison Skingsly from driving away while under the influence of alcohol.”
Alison Skingsly,43, of Spalding, Lincolnshire denied the murder of Kevin Nix on June 27, 2018 and an alternative charge of manslaughter.
Skingsly, in evidence, said she never intended to injure Mr Nix. She claimed she braked sharply and he was thrown off.
She said she feared she would be assaulted by Mr Nix and told the jury he hit her when they were in the beer garden.
“I was very frightened. I thought he was going to come out and hit me again. He looked really angry. I just wanted to get away from him,” she said.
In mitigation the court was told Skingsly had traits of personality disorder and was found by the jury to have no intention to cause Mr Nix serious harm.