16th Jul, 2019

Delay on tougher laws for killer drivers attacked by Coventry council leader

Les Reid 26th Sep, 2018 Updated: 26th Sep, 2018

NEW laws to impose tougher sentences on killers driving dangerously need to be introduced more urgently, insists Coventry council’s leader.

It comes as another schoolboy – a seven-year-old – was badly injured on Monday in a hit and run on the A45 Fletchamstead Highway, Coventry.

It follows the devastating deaths in February of young brothers Casper and Corey Platt-May, aged six and two, in Longfellow Road, Stoke, Coventry, by cocaine-addled disqualified driver Robert Brown.

He was sentenced to nine years in jail until it rose to ten-and-a-half years on appeal. The maximum penalty is just 14 years for those who take lives.

Council leader George Duggins is unhappy with the government’s response he received from justice minister Rory Stewart. It followed a joint letter in July from him and opposition group leader councillor Gary Ridley, sent on the council’s behalf to prime minister Theresa May following a council debate.

The minister’s letter re-stated the government’s commitment to the new legislation, but refused to say when.

Coun Duggins said that while Coventry City Council was pleased to be assured action would be taken, he was disappointed no timescale had been set.

He said: “We know the government has said that these new tougher sentences will be brought in, but we need action now.

“A life sentence will be a deterrent to some of those who commit these offences, and it would also serve as a better reflection of the severity of the crime and the devastating effect it has on families.

“We need changes to be made now and we will continue to make that call until the government takes action.”

The council has highlighted how it is now nearly a year since campaigners were told in October last year the government intended to toughen sentences.

Couns Duggins and Ridley’s letter had stated: “Ministers need to make Parliamentary time available as a matter of the utmost priority.

“As we wait, more and more families are being forced to suffer not only a lifetime of grief at the unnecessary loss of their loved ones, but the double injustice of seeing their killers receive prison sentences of just a few years.

“We call upon the government to introduce legislation immediately.”

Mr Stewart’s reply re-iterated the government’s proposals to increase the maximum penalty, available to the courts, to life in prison for those who cause death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs, or by dangerous driving.

His letter added: “We welcome the support that you have expressed for these changes and I can only stress that we are seeking to introduce our proposals for reform of the law as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

“No sentence can of course make up for the loss of a loved one but we are focused on getting the law right, to ensure the changes we make are comprehensive, proportionate and, we hope, might help avoid some further unnecessary deaths on our road.”

* In Monday’s incident, the boy and his father were struck by a white van or people carrier while crossing the A45 near the Kenilworth Road junction around 4.40pm. It made off down Cannon Park Road.

The boy was taken to hospital with facial injuries and his 38-year-old dad suffered a leg injury, police said.

Anyone with information should contact Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am to midnight, call 101 anytime or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Quote log 1789 of 24/9/18.

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