A driver who killed a mother-of-two after sniffing butane has been warned to expect a long jail sentence.
Exeter Crown Court heard that Paul Snowdon crashed his Vauxhall Astra into two other cars in the crash on the A386 at Landcross, known as Little America, near Bideford at 2.50pm, on May 9, last year.
Torrington mum Kelly Gliddon, aged 41, was a passenger in his car and died as a result of her injuries.
She was a mother of two young boys whose family issued a moving tribute after her death.
An 80-year-old passenger in one of the other cars suffered a serious arm injury in the crash
Snowdon, of Whites Lane, Torrington, admitted at Exeter Crown Court to causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury to Christina Gardner by dangerous driving.
Judge Timothy Rose adjourned his sentence until September 24 and granted him bail ‘as an act of mercy’ to allow him time to re-home his dog. He imposed an interim driving ban.
Another passenger in the Astra told police that 38-year-old Snowdon had been sniffing butane before he started driving erratically and at speed. Police found the cylinder in the wreckage of the car.
Snowdon crashed into a BMW and a Citroen van while attempting a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre on the country road.
Kelly’s family and friends were in the public gallery to hear Snowdon enter his pleas and were allowed to leave the building before he was freed from the dock.
Judge Rose told Snowdon: “You know that you have pleaded guilty to two remarkably serious and terrible offences and this is going to result in a significant and substantial prison sentence.
“I do not know the length at this stage but it will be meaningful.”
Joss Ticehurst, prosecuting, said another passenger in the Astra told police he had seen Snowdon sniffing butane just before he started driving dangerously.
He said: “This was not a one-off dangerous overtaking. There was a pattern of poor behaviour. Toxicology would not detect butane because it does not remain in the system long enough.
“The Crown’s case is that during the course of the journey he consumed butane and the canister was found in the car. When Snowdon ultimately accepted he was the driver, he denied consumption.
“The passenger said he saw him sniffing it and suggested that it changed his attitude towards driving. Whatever the cause, the course of driving was bad enough.”
Richard Crabb, defending, said Snowdon has no recollection of having used butane.
He said: “He is remorseful, apologetic and realistic about the outcome of this case. He has not driven since that day. I would invite bail as he needs to sort out his flat and is concerned about finding a home for the dog which he has had for 11 years.”
Kelly’s family released a picture of her and issued a short tribute after her death.
It said: “Kelly Gliddon (nee Sussex) was a devoted mother to two boys Charlie and Shay, beloved daughter to Mike and Diane and sister to Lynsey; sadly, she has been taken from us.”
Numerous floral tributes were left at the roadside following her death. One read: “Kelly, Heaven has gained another angel way too soon. You were a wonderful friend to us and gave a hug like no other. Fly high angel, RIP beautiful lady.”
Another said: “RIP my dearest best friend Kelly. I will miss you and our laughs.”
Another roadside tribute said: “Kelly, I can’t believe this has happened, it just doesn’t feel real.”