April 23 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, January 26, 2014
The family of Jamie Butcher, who was killed by a speeding driver almost three years ago, have vowed to keep campaigning until sentences “reflect the harm the driver has caused to people”.
Dad Steve Green, mum Tina and sister Hollie Butcher, all from Wisbech, began their campaign after Jamie’s killer, who went through a red light and was speeding at twice the limit before hitting the 22 year-old graduate on a pedestrian crossing in February 2011, was sentenced to just 43 months in prison.
Their petition calling for tougher sentences has attracted more than 14,000 signatures and, with the help of MP Steve Barclay and road safety charity Brake, they have successfully lobbied for a review of sentences dished out to drivers who kill.
Mr Green said: “When Jamie was killed and we saw the sentence which was handed out we were outraged.
“We decided to do our very best to get the system changed because something is very wrong if a repeat offender can come out of prison after serving two years and some offenders don’t go to prison at all. It’s absurd.
“The more people who support the petition the better. If we get 50,000 signatures, it is a lot more powerful than 500.
“We will keep campaigning until those who continue to drive in a reckless manner receive sentences that reflect the harm they have caused to people.
“Stronger sentences would also act as a deterrent to drivers, when they realise killing someone while behind the wheel can get you 10 to 12 years in prison.”
Four in ten drivers who are convicted of killing someone through risky driving aren’t sent to jail and only one in 10 are sentenced to more than five years in prison.
Mr Green hopes the Sentencing Council review, which is expected to begin this summer and last for 12 to 18 months, will prompt tougher sentences - ensuring justice for the victims’ families.
He has also called for the government to abolish the offence of Causing Death by Careless Driving, which carries a much lower maximum sentence than Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, so all drivers who kill through bad driving are charged with the latter.
He said: “We would quite like to see the charge Causing Death by Careless driving abolished because often people get charged for Death by Dangerous Driving before it gets reduced to careless driving since you are more likely to get a conviction.
“It would be good to see everyone who causes a death charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.
“The maximum sentence available for judges is 14 years in prison but this has never been imposed because judges have to follow guidelines which are holding them back.”
The Butcher family was recognised for their tireless campaigning with the prestigious Brake Road Campaigners of the Year award, which they received at a reception at the House of Commons this week.
Mr Green said: “Brake invited Tina and I to their annual reception at the House of Commons.
“We very nearly never went but changed our minds and decided to spend a few days in London.
“We were completely shocked when our names were read out and we found out we had been awarded the annual, national Campaigners of the Year award.
“We are delighted with the award and have accepted it on behalf of everyone who has helped with the campaign and everybody who has signed the petition.”
To lend your support to the campaign go to http://www.stopdangerousdrivers.com/