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Justice secretary praises campaign as he looks at law

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THE justice secretary has praised a News campaign demanding danger drivers who kill get longer prison sentences.

Chris Grayling MP spoke to The News and said the campaign, which calls for the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving to be increased from 14 years, puts pressure on politicians.

He said: ‘Campaigns like the one The News is running are a very good way of putting a bit of pressure on the political system to say there is something here that needs to be done.

‘We’ve taken the pressure from the campaign and others around the country and that’s what’s prompted the work that we’ve done in recent months.’

Mr Grayling’s comments came as he visited Portsmouth.

His department has asked the Sentencing Council to look at the sentencing guidelines as he says victims’ families were concerned killers were not being given the maximum term.

He said: ‘What I’ve found often is it is not the 14 years that is the concern. It is that the person getting sentenced is actually getting a lower sentence than that.

‘We’ve asked the Sentencing Council to take a look at the current guidelines for judges as to whether they should change.

‘I’ve also been doing some work within the department, which I can’t talk about yet. The question is: are the current laws right?’

As reported, The News’ campaign is supported by the families of Payton Sparks, 16, and Jasmine Allsop, 14, who were killed by two young men in separate crashes.

Payton, known as Poppy, of Leigh Park, was a passenger in a car driven by Lewis Young, 19, who was on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol when he lost control and smashed into a building.

He had prior convictions for driving offences but was jailed for eight years.

Jasmine, of Gosport, was killed in the road when she was hit by Samuel Etherington, 20, of Stoners Close, Gosport, as he sped at 65mph in a 30mph zone.

Her best friend Olivia Lewry, 16, was also hit and later died in hospital. Etherington got nine years.

Mr Grayling added: ‘I’ve huge sympathy (for the families). I’ve had a lot of dealings over the last few years with families who have lost loved ones to crime in its different descriptions.

‘It’s horrendous for them.

‘I’ll do everything I can to make sure that we have a justice system that reflects the pain they have.’

Now since launching the campaign last Monday, readers have contacted this newspaper voicing their support.

Barry Faust, of Brighstone Road, Cosham, wrote: ‘A car is a lethal weapon.

‘Too may families have been let down by the law when it comes to driving deaths.’

Sydney Carter wrote: ‘I would like to see life sentences, and I mean life, for many other sentences.’

Elizabeth Austin said: ‘I think the sentence for Lewis young and Samuel etherington should be much longer.’

 

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