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Barry drink driver downed vodka before killing popular grandad

A DRINK driver downed vodka and cider before he killed a much-loved grandfather cycling to meet his three grandchildren in a nearby park.

Matthew Clemo, from Barry, was on the wrong side of the road when he ploughed into a parked van, striking 76-year-old Michael Partridge, and then another stationary vehicle.

The cyclist, a retired steelworker at Llanwern, Newport, died from multiple injuries on Bedwas’ Pandy Road at around 1pm on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

The defendant, 51, was nearly three times the drink driving limit at the wheel of his Ford Transit van, prosecutor Roger Griffiths said.

Barry And District News:

The court heard how the community where Michael Partridge lived has been shocked and greatly saddened by his the death

Clemo had drank vodka and cider and had been making his way to his home after working in Bristol that morning.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the defendant was so drunk when he was arrested he couldn’t stand up straight on his own.

Police also found a vodka bottle in his van.

Mr Partridge was a popular figure in the Bedwas community where he lived.

He had been a member of the Aber Valley Male Voice Choir and Caerphilly Male Voice Choir and a steward and committee member at Bedwas Rugby Football Club.

In a victim impact statement, Daniel Partridge, the victim’s son, described his father as a “hero”.

The court heard how Mr Partridge once risked his life to prevent an explosion at the blast furnace at Llanwern Steelworks.

Mr Griffiths said: “The defendant showed a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road.

“He had been drinking vodka in the course of the morning.”

The defendant told paramedics at the crash scene: “What the **** have I done?”

Clemo, formerly of Bedwas, now of Daniel Street, Barry, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Griffiths said the defendant had a “dreadful driving record”.

He had 25 previous convictions for 89 offences, including drink driving, dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking and driving while disqualified.

Jefferey Jones, mitigating, said: “The defendant has shown much remorse and upset.”

His barrister added how his client had not been in trouble with the police for 17 years before last year’s offence.

Judge Nicola Saffman told Clemo: “You were extremely intoxicated having drank so much cider and vodka that you were two and three quarter times over the drink drive limit.

“You had also taken co-codamol painkiller and you also had cannabis in your system, although not at a level which would cause you to be prosecuted.

“Driving down Pandy Road, you were driving on the wrong side of the road.

“This was a built up residential area with multiple parked vehicles along the sides and houses behind them.”

She added: “You were so intoxicated you had no idea that you had been striking these vehicles and Mr Partridge.

“You were arrested at the scene and the officer who arrested you described you as being so drunk that you couldn’t stand up straight on your own and a vodka bottle was found within your vehicle.

“Michael Partridge was a 76-year-old retired gentleman who had worked hard all his life in the steelworks and was a beloved husband, father and grandfather.

“His family have been significantly impacted as a result of his death in this manner.”

Clemo was jailed for eight years.

He was banned from driving for 12 years and ordered to pay a surcharge after his release from prison.

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