Leeds campaigners welcome tougher sentences for road killers

David Metcalf, 68, and his wife Dorothy, 65, who died when their Fiat car was struck by Eduard Mereohra on the A647 Stanningley bypass near Leeds.
David Metcalf, 68, and his wife Dorothy, 65, who died when their Fiat car was struck by Eduard Mereohra on the A647 Stanningley bypass near Leeds.
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Tougher sentence proposals for drivers who have killed people on the region’s roads are expected to be unveiled by the Government this week.

The long-awaited reforms are understood to be part of the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday when she outlines Government legislation planned for the next 12 months.

16-year-old Jamie Still was killed by drunk driver Max McRae, aged 21.

16-year-old Jamie Still was killed by drunk driver Max McRae, aged 21.

Increased sentencing has been welcomed by campaigning families and their supporters in Leeds after a number of tragic deaths on the roads.

Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, who has campaigned extensively on the issue, said: “I welcome reports that ministers are set to announce tougher penalties for criminal drivers.

“For too long victims have not had the justice they deserve and families have seen the killers of their loved ones let out of prison too soon. It cannot be right that while the sentence for homicide is life in prison, the average sentence for a criminal driver who kills someone is just four years.”

Otley resident Jamie Still, and David and Dorothy Metcalf from Cookridge, were killed by drunk drivers in December 2010 and January 2012 respectively.

Clive Metcalf, the son of David and Dorothy, said families continue to feel they have been treated unjustly.

While the person who killed his parents received a 12 year sentence, one of the longest ever issued for causing death by dangerous driving, he was released after three years and 10 months.

Lib Dem politician, Mr Mulholland, said: “I firmly believe their killers should have served longer sentences given the severity of their offences, that is why I have long called on ministers to make the changes.

“Jamie’s mother Karen, his sister Rebecca, and David and Dorothy’s children Clive and Lindsay have all shown real courage in campaigning for tougher penalties.”

The Daily Telegraph has reported motorists who kill people are due to get similar sentences to murderers when the reform is announced on Wednesday.

At present the maximum sentence for dangerous drivers who kill people is 14 years, and on average most people are only sentenced to four years in jail.

Mr Mulholland presented a private members Criminal Driving (Justice for Victims) Bill in the House of Commons earlier this year.

He said: “While we will continue to call for all of the changes in the Criminal Driving Bill, the measures reported to be announced in the Queen’s Speech mark a huge campaign success for us.”

As recently as Saturday, bereaved Lorraine Allaway pledged to campaign for longer jail terms for motorists convicted of causing fatal crashes.

Her husband, Robert, 46, from Long Preston, near Skipton, died after his motorcycle was hit by a car which was being driven on the wrong side of the road by drunk driver Andrew Crook in the Yorkshire Dales.

Crook, 48, from Swinnow Grove, Swinnow, Leeds, was jailed for five years and eight months after he pleaded guilty to causing death by driving without due care and attention when he was almost two-and-a-half times over the legal drink-drive limit.

The last time sentences were enhanced for death by dangerous driving and causing death while driving under the influence was in 2004, when they were raised from 10 to 14 years in jail.

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