In the early hours of November 3 last year, Jasmine Allsop and Olivia Newry were killed by the dangerous driving of Samuel Etherington.
The repercussions from his actions that day, when his souped-up car hit the teenaged best friends at more than 60mph, will continue to be felt by those who knew them for years, if not decades to come.
As a result of Etherington’s nine-year sentence, and other cases like it, The News began a campaign, calling for the maximum possible sentence for death by dangerous driving to be increased. It is currently 14 years.
The Crown Prosecution Service had originally charged Etherington with manslaughter, which he denied.
The then-20-year-old had at first blamed the girls for running out into the road, but he changed his pleas to guilty on two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, which was accepted by the Crown.
At the sentencing hearing in February, Etherington’s QC told how the Gosport man was full of remorse and ‘he wishes that it was his life that was lost and not that of those two young girls.’
Now we learn that Etherington is launching an appeal against a sentence that many felt was too short to start with.
It is not the behaviour of someone wracked with remorse or guilt for their actions.
Because of this appeal, the girls’ families and friends will once again have to relive what happened that night.
Jasmine’s mother Rose has spoken of her anger, an emotion many will share when they hear of this appeal.
Road safety charity Brake backed our campaign for tougher sentences, as did local MP Caroline Dinenage – who offered to call for a review of the sentence.
For Etherington though, he has nothing to lose by appealing – and years of his freedom to potentially gain.
We can but hope that Etherington’s gamble fails to pay off and the judge at the Court of Appeal listens to public sentiment.
These are years that his victims can never have back.