‘Throw the book at killer motorists’

Jamie Still, who was killed by a drink-driver on New Year's Eve 2010.
Jamie Still, who was killed by a drink-driver on New Year's Eve 2010.
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The mother of a teenager left fatally injured by a drink driver has welcomed calls for tougher sentences for killer motorists.

A survey by West Yorkshire-based road safety charity Brake found eight out of 10 drivers think current penalties for those who cause death on the roads don’t go far enough.

Eight-five per cent want a minimum of five years in prison for drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs.

The findings were welcomed by Karen Strong, from Otley, whose 16-year-old son Jamie Still was killed by drink-driver Max McRae on New Year’s Eve 2010.

McRae, who was twice the drink-drive limit, served half of his four-year sentence for causing death by careless driving.

Miss Strong said: “He has gone back to living his life again. We have been handed a life sentence. The courts are meant to treat the cases the same as manslaughter, but they just don’t. I totally agree that sentences should be higher, but more importantly they should serve the full sentence.”

Only nine per cent of those convicted of death by dangerous or careless driving get prison terms of five years or more.

Jamie’s sister Rebecca, now 16, is campaigning for tougher sentences and an immediate ban for drink drivers.

Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, who is backing the campaign, said: “All too often sentencing does not properly reflect the seriousness of the crime of killing someone through criminal driving and this denies their families the justice they deserve.”

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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