‘The law is an insult to her life’

Two families involved in Brake’s Roads to Justice campaign will hand petitions in to 10 Downing Street on Thursday urging tougher criminal driving laws. The petitions have each been signed by more than 100,000 people.

Richard and Ceinwen Briddon from West Wales, whose 21-year-old daughter was killed instantly by a drunk driver who will serve two and a half years in jail, will be joined by Lorraine Allaway from Long Preston near Skipton.

Lorraine’s husband Robert was also killed by a driver under the influence of alcohol and he too will spend two and a half years in jail.

Lorraine said, ‘I vowed on the day my husband’s killer was sentenced that I would campaign to get the law changed regarding sentencing of drivers who kill vulnerable road users and I will continue to campaign until the sentencing for these drivers has been changed.’

Richard and Ceinwen added, ‘We named the petition ‘A Moment for Miriam’ as we were asking people to take a moment of their time to read about Miriam and to sign our petition. The amount of signatures we received in just two months was phenomenal. We are truly amazed at how quickly we crossed the 100,000 mark and we are very grateful to everyone that has signed and shared our campaign.

‘We will never have justice for Miriam. The present sentencing guidelines and the law are an insult to her life and a disgrace to us left behind to pick up the pieces. When an innocent life is taken, the punishment should reflect the seriousness of the crime. We are calling on the government to review and change the guidelines that determine sentencing of drink-drivers that kill.’

A Brake survey in July found that 91% of people questioned agreed that drivers on drink or drugs who kill should be charged with manslaughter, which carries a possible life sentence. As it stands, the average prison sentence for a driver who has killed someone is less than four years while nearly half don’t spend any time in jail.

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, said, ‘As we have witnessed far too often, there are too many families, like the Allaways and the Briddons, who suffer the loss of a loved one in devastating circumstances, and then witness our judicial system turning their back on them.

‘The petition handover shows that the public is behind us, with both petitions gaining a huge amount of support. The Prime Minister has already told us we will be getting a review into criminal driving this year. Her government must now give us a definite timetable for action to avoid any more families suffering terrible injustices.’