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Drink-driving ‘lunacy’ that killed four is 'worse case ever heard' by coroner

A drink-fuelled, high-speed car crash which left four people dead was described by a coroner as the worst he has dealt with in his 35-year career.

Joanne Martin was three times the drink-drive limint and going at more than double the 30mph speed limit on the wrong side of the road when she smashed into an oncoming car, killing herself and three others.

The 40-year-old’s ‘sheer lunacy’ caused a ‘senseless loss of life’, said coroner Robin Balmain.

‘If anybody has any doubts about the consequences of drink-driving, they can learn lessons from what has happened here,’ he told the inquest in Smethwick, West Midlands.

‘Having thought back over 35 years, I have to say that this is the worst road traffic collision I have ever had the misfortune to listen to.’

Miss Martin died of multiple injuries in the crash involving her Citroën Saxo and a Ford Fiesta in West Bromwich last June. Her 11-year-old daughter, Kelsey, was freed alive, along with three others, from the wreckage of the cars.

But Miss Martin’s passenger, Tracy Chambers, 28, Fiesta driver Kelly Partridge, 34, and her passenger Ashley Simpson, 21, all died. The coroner ruled they had been unlawfully killed.

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