THE husband of a woman who is still in hospital 10 months after a drink driver mowed her down has spoken out after the offender was jailed.

On November 29 last year, Melody Smith, a 56-year-old mum-of-three from Middlewich, was attending an outdoor meeting of her photographic group in a quiet rural clearing in woodland near Bradford Road, Winsford.

At around 8pm a Hyundai Tucson skidded into the clearing and hit Melody.

The driver of the car, 38-year-old Michael Fletcher, had pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and also driving under the influence of alcohol at previous hearings.

Last Friday at Chester Crown Court, Fletcher, of Hillside Lane, Moulton, was jailed for two years and four months and disqualified from driving for six years and two months.

Melody, who suffered a catastrophic brain injury in the collision, remains semi-conscious in Royal Stoke Hospital as a result of her injuries.

Her husband, Alan, 64, said: “The sentencing brings with it relief that the criminal trial is now over; however I, with the rest of the family, remain devastated that such a terrible thing ever happened to Melody in the first place.

“Melody remains in hospital and there are no signs that she will be home in the near future.

“I feel although I can cope with many of the domestic things, leaving the hospital each evening to go to the house feels like spending another night away from home. I wake early and rush from one thing to the next, always wondering how Melody is feeling and whether she needs to be comforted.

“It is always a relief to get to the hospital and to be with her again.

“For our three adult children who live elsewhere, it has been an upsetting and traumatic time. The critical early part of Melody’s stay in hospital coincided with the Christmas holidays and we were fortunate to have time together as a family to visit Melody and to provide support to her, and each other.

“Melody spent almost four weeks unconscious after the collision and began to show signs of awakening just as our elder two were leaving for their homes in London and Sydney.

“Our youngest daughter stayed with me for the whole of December and reluctantly returned to York in the New Year.

“We are a close-knit and loving family, and Melody provides a voice of reason and good sense to us all, which we all miss dreadfully.”

After the accident, Alan instructed specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help secure vital funds to cover the costs of the extensive rehabilitation and treatment she will now need.

Richard Biggs, the expert serious injury solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is an incredibly sad case in which the dangerous actions of a driver have caused immense pain for a family and left a woman with serious, life-changing injuries.

“The sentencing highlights the need for other drivers to take note and be more responsible when on the road. Nothing is more important than your own safety and the safety of others on the roads.

“We will continue to support Alan, and the family, as they look to put this terrible ordeal behind them and focus on Melody’s rehabilitation and recovery.”