A SPEEDING BMW driver killed a retired lecturer while more than three times over the proscribed drugs limit.

Adam Ayling drove at 49mph in a 30mph zone in Rottingdean, and ran over Carol Littler, 69, and her husband Julian at a pedestrian crossing on the A259 seafront road.

Mr Littler, who was 61 at the time, suffered brain damage.

He had to be taken out of a coma as doctors battled to save Mrs Littler’s life but his wife of 40 years died three days later.

Ayling should not have even been on the road as he had been banned from driving after racking up 12 penalty points, and had not reapplied for his licence.

He had previously been convicted of driving while disqualified in 1998, 2008, 2009 and 2012.

After months of denial, the 41-year-old admitted causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs.

Judge Christine Laing QC, sitting at Lewes Crown Court, told him he had “no sense of responsibility”.

She jailed the father of eight to seven years and seven months in prison.

Rachel Beckett, prosecuting, said the crash happened on the evening of August 6 in 2017, as Mr and Mrs Littler returned home from meeting friends at the White Horse pub in the village.

She said: “He was driving at excessive speed while over the limit. Had he been within the limit, tests show the couple would have made it across the road without being struck by the vehicle.”

Mrs Littler was the first to be struck in the crash in Marine Drive, suffering fatal head injuries when she was hit by the BMW X5.

At the scene, one witness heard Ayling say: “My car… who is going to pay for this?”

He was returning home from motocross and had one of his children in the car at the time.

Ms Beckett said the couple had been walking arm in arm.

The next thing Mr Littler could remember was waking up in hospital and being told his wife was battling for life in the operating theatre at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Ayling told officers at interview that he did not believe he had been speeding, and claimed to have taken cocaine on August 4 or August 5.

Tests showed he had 150 microgrammes of BZE (Benzoylecgonine) per litre of his blood, when the legal limit is 50 microgrammes. BZE is a by-product of cocaine.

Julian Littler’s victim impact statement was read out in court.

He said: “I woke up from the coma with my head strapped to the bed and was told I had been in an accident.

“I had major brain damage. I realised Carol had been with me, and was advised she was in the operating theatre with a huge team there.

“I was told she would probably not make it. She had taken all the impact. It was definitely the worst day of my life, surpassing the death of my son at 36. When my daughters saw me there was a look of horror on their faces.”

Mr Littler had moved to Rottingdean in 2011 after meeting his wife in 1977 at university. She had been a lecturer and teacher trainer at the Institute of Education, but was also known for dance classes in the village.

He added: “Carol has been a massive part of my adult life. I will miss her more than anyone will know.

“I smile every day to think of the fun times we had. We certainly had a great life together with lots of fond memories. I’m aware it would be easy to fall into depression.

“I nearly did when they asked me about switching off the life support machines. I could see myself drowning, it was a really terrifying experience.”

Mark Kessler, defending, said: “One cannot even begin to describe the enormity of what happened on that day. It was devastating.”

He said Ayling, of Northdown Road in Newhaven, finally accepted his guilt on the day of the trial, despite denying he had gone too fast in two separate police interviews.

Mr Kessler added: “He acutely and sincerely regrets his actions, and would do anything he could to turn the clock back.”

Judge Laing said the case showed the seriousness of drug driving and the impact it can have.

She said: “Mrs Littler was a woman who had nothing but a wholly positive effect over many hundreds of people in her career as a teacher trainer and for groups in society she took part in.

“The impact of her death upon her family is immeasurable. You had drugs within your system, which takes away the driver’s ability to appreciate what they are doing. If you had been at an appropriate speed you would have been able to see them and adjust, they would have crossed the road and been beyond you.

“It beggars belief that you took your young son in that car, clearly drugs takes away your sense of responsibility.

“You caused Carol Littler’s death and caused terrible and long lasting injuries to Mr Littler as well.

“Your previous driving convictions show you have a complete disregard for driving laws.”