Yorkshire mother calls for life sentence for drink drivers following death of teen son

Jamie Still's mother Karen Strong and his sister Rebecca.
Jamie Still's mother Karen Strong and his sister Rebecca.
0
Have your say

The mother of a Yorkshire teen killed by a speeding drink driver is backing a campaign calling for mandatory life sentences for those convicted of drink driving.

Jamie Still was just 16 when he was mowed down by a speeding drink driver in his home town of Otley in Leeds, on New Year's Eve 2010.

Jamie Still was just 16 when he was moweddown by a speeding drink driver in his home town of Otley in Leeds, on New Year's Eve 2010.

Jamie Still was just 16 when he was moweddown by a speeding drink driver in his home town of Otley in Leeds, on New Year's Eve 2010.

The teen had been walking to get some prawn crackers from a Chinese takeaway when he was struck by a speeding drink-driver Max McRae, who mounted the pavement and ploughed into him as he tried to escape.

It took emergency services 45 minutes to free Jamie from the wreckage.

He was rushed to hospital but sadly died from his injuries.

His killer McRae, was jailed for four years in September 2001, for causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink and banned from driving for five years. Let out on license, he served two.

Jamie Still was just 16 when he was moweddown by a speeding drink driver in his home town of Otley in Leeds, on New Year's Eve 2010.

Jamie Still was just 16 when he was moweddown by a speeding drink driver in his home town of Otley in Leeds, on New Year's Eve 2010.

Jamie's mother Karen Strong and his sister Rebecca, now 21, previously voiced their support to a campaign by The Yorkshire Post and its JPI Media sister titles to achieve justice for families of those killed by dangerous drivers.

The Ministry of Justice announced in 2017 and following the campaign that motorists who cause death by dangerous driving and careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs would face life in jail.

Two years on, the Government has been accused of dragging its heels again with no change to the law.

A motion calling for mandatory life sentences for those convicted of death by dangerous driving, has now been raised again by Helen Jones, Labour MP for Warrington North, following the tragic death of four-year-old Violet Grace, who was killed by a speeding driver in St Helens.

Miss Strong is supporting the motion and said: "I just think its disgusting that the Government has not taken any action for nearly two years.

"I know there are other priorities but I feel the Government is not taking this seriously and they need to.

"Their emphasis is always on putting the victims first but this hasn't been the case.

"What he did to my son, in my eyes, was manslaughter, but because a car was involved, it wasn't and it was classed as careless driving.

"We have been living with a life sentence, but Jamie's killer spent two years in prison.

"For a judge to tell us our child is worth no more than that, was a slap in the face."

Bradford South Labour MP Judith Cummins pledged her support to the motion calling for mandatory life sentences for those convicted of death by dangerous driving.

Speaking during a debate in Parliament on Monday, she said: "My simple question to the Minister is this: it is nearly two years on, so where are those tougher sentences?

"The Government have said repeatedly that they will bring forward legislative proposals “as soon as parliamentary time allows”. I sincerely hope that we do not hear that phrase from the Minister today.

"As we all know, there has been ample parliamentary time in recent months for these changes to be discussed, debated and implemented.

"One could fairly conclude that the Government, having announced they intended to introduce those tougher penalties, have now changed their mind. That is an appalling way to treat families affected by this terrible crime."

Road safety charity Brake also welcomed the debate earlier this week.

A charity spokesman said: "Deaths and serious injuries on our roads cause terrible suffering everyday.

"The Government must implement the promised tougher sentences for killer drivers and conduct full review of road traffic offences, delivering justice to bereaved families."

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "We intend to give courts the power to hand down life sentences for death by dangerous driving – sending a clear message to those who drive irresponsibly.

"Proposals for a change in the law will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows."