Portslade widow speaks out about drink-driving

Posted On 25 Jun 2013 at 1:24 pm

The widow of a Portslade man has spoken out about drink-driving almost two years to the day after her husband was killed by a motorcyclist.

Alan Barber, 71, and his wife Christine, from North Lane, Portslade, were choosing a new shower at a shop in Worthing on Friday 1 July 2011.

Mr Barber went out to move their car. As he crossed North Street, Worthing, through stationary traffic, he was hit by a motorcyclist who had been drinking.

Mrs Barber said: “I remember a man ran into the shop saying someone had been hit and I just knew it was Alan.

Alan and Christine Barber

Alan and Christine Barber

“I went into shock. I was taken to Worthing Hospital and then a doctor came into see me and told me Alan had died. It was awful.”

The motorcyclist, Arthur Burke, from Worthing, who was 52 at the time, was one and a half times over the limit. Witnesses reported that he was speeding.

He was jailed for two years and eight months after being convicted of causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink or drugs.

Mrs Barber said that she would ask motorists to stop and think about what could happen in a moment of carelessness brought about by drink.

She said: “Even if it’s just a pint, some people say that doesn’t affect them but I would say don’t even have a sip.

“How would they feel if they lost someone they loved or they were injured themselves by a drunk driver?

“It’s not worth it just to have a drink.

“That motorcyclist did not consider the lethal consequences of what could, and did, happen after he drank alcohol and then rode his motorbike carelessly that day.

“Alan was funny and mischievous, full of fun and always playing practical jokes. I miss him all the time.”

PC Steve Taylor, from the Sussex Police Road Policing Unit, acted as the family liaison officer after Mr Barber was killed.

Arthur Burke

Arthur Burke

He said: “I have been a road policing officer for eight years and dealing with someone involved in a collision doesn’t get any easier.

“But knowing a motorist has been drinking makes me question every time whether a collision could have been prevented.

“If that person had made the decision to get a taxi home, things could have been very different.

“As a police officer I am also the one who makes the visit to the homes of those involved and breaks the news that their loved one is in hospital or has died.

“I would never wish that visit or breaking that news on anyone.

“Please make the right choice this summer and don’t drink and drive.”


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