Minister gives a boost to danger driving campaign

ACTION Justice Minister Chris Grayling
ACTION Justice Minister Chris Grayling

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THE first step in the News campaign to get an increase in the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving has been successful.

Yesterday we launched our Get Tough On Danger Drivers campaign following the tragic deaths of teenagers Payton Sparks, Olivia Lewry and Jasmine Allsop.

SUPPORT Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage

SUPPORT Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage

The three teenagers lost their lives in two separate car crashes and now Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is calling for tougher penalties for those responsible.

Ms Dinenage stood up in parliament and asked the Prime Minister to look at the sentences. She has also written to Justice Minister Chris Grayling asking for a review of the case, and also the rules on sentencing.

Today The News can reveal she has received a letter confirming that Mr Grayling has asked the Sentencing Council to investigate a possible review of the 14-year maximum sentence.

He said: ‘Dangerous driving can have devastating consequences and I want to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our roads safe.’

Payton, 16, known as Poppy, was killed when Lewis Young, 19, lost control and hit a telegraph pole, tree, and building in a car after taking a cocktail of mephedrone and ketamine.

Young was sentenced to eight years. Meanwhile, 14-year-old Jasmine, and her best friend Olivia, 16, were killed when Samuel Etherington, 20, ploughed into them while driving more than double the 30mph speed limit.

He was handed a nine-year jail term.

In both cases there were previous driving offences which counted as aggravating features but the killers still did not receive the maximum sentence.

Responding to Mr Grayling’s letter, Ms Dinenage said: ‘It’s really good because there needs to be more flexibility on the whole issue of dangerous driving.

‘In many incidents the maximum sentence is perhaps sufficient, but in incidents like this where such negligence was shown by the driver, it isn’t.

‘I have had so many e-mails from people up and down the country who have lost loved ones and feel the sentences are very dismissive of the loss of life.

‘It’s heartbreaking to hear about these things, especially as a mother.

‘I think the News campaign is a great idea.’

But this is just the first step in the campaign.

Before the sentence can be extended it must be referred to the attorney general Dominic Grieve to the Law Commission and then through parliament.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR OUR CAMPAIGN

As part of this campaign, The News wants to pass on the thoughts of people in this area to the people in power.

Get in touch with us to give your backing to the push for stiffer sentences.

· E-mail newsdesk@thenews.co.uk

· Write to us at The News, 1000 Lakeside, Western Road, North Harbour, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN