Bereaved family in drink-driving plea
A woman who lost her brother and cousin in a car crash in Bath has spoken for the first time about her family's grief in the hope that it will deter others from getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
Paula Barham's brother Neil and cousin Marc Warman were killed in a devastating incident, in Lower Bristol Road, in October 2008.
The pair, who were best friends, had been drinking in the city centre beforehand and had initially planned to get a taxi home, but made the decision to take the car instead.
Mr Barham, 30, who lived in Rosewarn Close, died instantly when his Audi hit a lorry, and father-of-three Mr Warman, 29, who lived in Haycombe Drive, suffered critical injuries and died later in Frenchay Hospital.
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An inquest heard that Mr Barham had been almost three times over the limit and driving on the wrong side of the road at speeds of up to 80mph when the crash happened.
Miss Barham said it had been a difficult few years coming to terms with what happened but she now felt ready to talk about it in the hope that it might stop others from drink driving.
The 35-year-old, who was speaking as part of Avon and Somerset Police's annual anti-drink drive campaign Operation Tonic, said: "I have wanted to do it since the beginning, but I've not been strong enough.
"I think this is the only good that can come from this. If we can stop another person from even thinking about getting into a car when they have been drinking, then it is worthwhile."
Miss Barham grew up in Bath and attended Hayesfield School, but now lives with her parents Mary, 56, and David, 62, at Patchway, near Bristol.
She said the fact that her brother had not only killed himself but also his cousin had made the situation even more upsetting.
However she said Mr Warman's family had never blamed her brother for his bad judgment and in fact their combined grief had drawn them closer together.
"When you have lost someone by something they have done through making a bad choice, it is a lot harder to deal with. It was difficult, but we have tried to support each other.
"It could have pulled us apart but in fact it brought us closer together."
Miss Barham is now hoping she can continue to warn others about the dangers of drink-driving by going into schools and speaking at driver awareness courses.
She believes the law should be changed so the legal alcohol limit is zero, because she thinks it is often confusing for people to know when they have drunk too much.
Speaking of her brother, Miss Barham said: "Thankfully his friends also remember him the way we asked at the inquest – as he was, not for his last actions."