Justice secretary Chris Grayling says maximum sentence for killer drivers could be increased

A family picture of Olivia Lewry (right) and Jasmine Allsop (left)
A family picture of Olivia Lewry (right) and Jasmine Allsop (left)
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THE campaign to increase the maximum jail sentence for dangerous drivers who kill behind the wheel has taken a step forward.

Justice secretary Chris Grayling says the 14-year maximum term could be extended after the general election to ensure families of victims receive justice.

And speaking during a visit to Portsmouth, Mr Grayling said work is being done to improve existing death by dangerous driving laws.

The News launched its Get Tough on Danger Drivers campaign after Sam Etherington was given just nine years in jail for killing Jasmine Allsop, 14, and her best friend Olivia Lewry, 16, while driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

Payton ‘Poppy’ Sparks, of Leigh Park, was killed in a separate crash by Lewis Young, who lost control of his car after taking a cocktail of mephedrone and ketamine.

He was sentenced to eight years in jail.

Jasmine’s mum, Rose Allsop, 38, of Gosport, said: ‘This is a step forward, it’s good because the government should increase the sentence.

‘But it will never be enough.

‘It doesn’t make up for the loss of your child.

‘But families need justice.

‘Nine years wasn’t enough for what he did in the first place.’

Disqualified drivers who kill on the road now face the same charge and it could also be extended to motorists who drive off after an accident.

Mr Grayling said: ‘We have already started a review of death by dangerous driving, we are looking at the whole thing.

‘We are looking to change the law to bring in more dangerous driving practices under the umbrella of dangerous driving.’

He added: ‘I am not promising we are going to increase sentences, but we are exploring whether we should and expanding the current law – for example when people leave the scene of an accident.

‘If you are driving while disqualified and you cause an accident, the very fact you are on the road means that is dangerous.

The number of cases of death by dangerous drivingwent up from 164 in 2011 to 2012, to 226 in 2012 to 2013.

Only nine per cent of drivers convicted get more than five years.

Campaign came following tragic deaths of teenage girls

THE News launched the Get Tough on Danger Drivers campaign last year following the deaths of teenagers Payton Sparks, Olivia Lewry and Jasmine Allsop.

The maximum sentence available to judges with regards to death by dangerous driving was increased from 10 years to 14 in 2004 – but their parents say that’s not nearly enough.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage asked for the sentence handed to Sam Etherington – responsible for the deaths of Jasmine and Olivia – to be reviewed as ‘unduly lenient’.

But that was rejected by the Attorney General’s office as it decided it should not go on to the appeal court