Grief-stricken families who spoke of the loss of their loved ones at the hands of a killer driver have seen a huge surge of support from across the country.
As revealed in a YEP investigation, dozens of killer drivers have walked free from court after being convicted of dangerous driving or careless driving through drink or drugs. The investigation, focusing on the stories of local families devastated by the loss of a loved one, found that not a single person had been jailed for the maximum sentence of 14 years. Now, after three families opened up about their fight for justice, hundreds of YEP readers have backed calls for tougher sentences.
“Sentences are much too lenient,” said YEP reader Dorothy Lee. “A car is a lethal weapon in the wrong hands.”
Reader Berni Kellet added: “It’s not an accident when you have been drinking then decide to drive, it’s not an accident when you speed.
“These types of cases should not get reduced sentences for being remorseful either. It’s absolutely disgusting.”
More than 1,000 people have now backed a campaign set up by Johnston Press and the YEP’s sister titles, petitioning for changes to the law to make sentences fit the crime.
“Something needs to be done,” said Jenna Latto from Leeds. “It’s disgusting.”
The Government has pledged to launch a consultation by the end of the year. Justice minister Sam Gyimah said: “Driving offences can have devastating and heart-breaking consequences for victims and their families. This government is determined to make sure sentencing fits the crime for those who kill or seriously injure on our roads.”
“For far too long, people have felt let down by the justice system after seeing an offender get off lightly,” said Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland. “Punishments have not always matched the severity of the offence and this must change. Criminal drivers can have a lasting impact on victims they injure and on the families of those killed. I have seen three of my own constituents killed. 16 year-old Jamie Still, and an elderly couple from Cookridge, Dorothy and David Metcalf. I have worked closely with their families to campaign for better justice for victims and families and we are determined to keep fighting until we get much-needed changes.”