Tougher sentences for killer drivers welcomed by MP and campaigners

Caroline Dinenage has welcomed tougher sentences for killer drivers
Caroline Dinenage has welcomed tougher sentences for killer drivers

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TOUGH new powers to jail killer drivers for life have been welcomed by an MP and campaigners.

The Government is set to announce the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving will rise from 14 years to life.

A raft of measures will be brought in, including a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.

It comes after The News and Johnson Press Investigations ran Drive for Justice.

The campaign for tougher sentences came in the wake of the deaths of friends Olivia Lewry, 16, and Jasmine Allsop, 14.

The pair were killed by Samuel Etherington as he sped at 65mph in his green Honda Civic in Ann’s Hill Road, Gosport, after taking mephedrone and ketamine.

Etherington, of Stoners Close, Gosport, admitted death by dangerous driving after denying manslaughter charges over the killings at 4.15am on November 3 in 2013.

MP Caroline Dinenage, who called for his sentence to be increased, welcomed the news.

She said: ‘I warmly welcome this news.

‘In Gosport we well remember the deaths of two young women, mown down by a driver on a cocktail of drink and drugs.

‘The only life sentence was for the families and friends who have to carry the weight of this tragedy.’

Road safety campaigners have also welcomed the move.

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, today welcomed the plans to increase maximum sentencing and for campaigns like Johnston Press’ Drive For Justice for making it happen.

He said: ‘This is a major victory for the families of victims and charities, including Brake, who have tirelessly campaigned for punishments which better fit road crimes that kill and seriously injure people.

‘After years and years of hard work from families who have been bereaved by road crashes, the government has at last woken up and listened to their concerns.

‘I want to applaud the work of the Drive For Justice campaign by Johnston Press and similar campaigns up and down the country which have undoubtedly led to this long awaited and welcome change.

‘We applaud the government for at last recognising that the statute books have been weighed against thousands of families who have had their lives torn apart through the actions of drivers who have flagrantly broken the law.

‘In addition to tougher penalties, Government must also make road policing a national priority, reversing savage cuts to front line resources so that laws are properly enforced in the first place.

‘Figures released only last month reveal that almost 1,800 people were killed on British roads last year - a four per cent rise since 2015.

‘There is an urgent need for a road collision investigation branch, similar to those already in existence for air, rail and sea, so that lessons can be learned to prevent future deaths and serious injuries on the roads.’