Stop the Speeders: Callous killer drivers jailed for less than eight years each
Two killer drivers who callously left their victims for dead have each been jailed for under eight years, prompting an urgent call for tougher sentences.
Banned driver Craig Edwards was locked up for seven years for killing grandfather John Hickinbottom.
He lost control of his vehicle and mounted the pavement, knocking down the 74-year-old.
Speeding motorist Kade Scrivens was sentenced to seven and a half years for hitting cyclist Nicholas Harrison. Scrivens was speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road.
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Both sentences have been criticised by road safety campaigner Gez McManus and Walsall North MP Eddie Hughes, who is to raise the matter in Parliament.
Mr McManus, whose 21-year-old daughter Rebecca was killed by a speeding driver in Bearwood four years ago, said: “Enough is enough.
“Something needs to change to stop people getting behind the wheel and driving so dangerously, causing misery to the families of the innocent people killed.
“If the sentences are not long enough, people will fail to take notice. We have to go back to the drawing board.”
Both Mr McManus and Mr Hughes are supporting a campaign by the Express & Star launched today for tougher sentences for killer drivers.
- MORE: Heartbroken father backs campaign after death of daughter
- COMMENT: Why we must put a stop to killer drivers
The two cases were heard before Wolverhampton Crown Court this week.
The court heard how Edwards got behind the wheel despite pleas from his mother to hand over the keys to his BMW 320 because he was drunk.
He travelled just a quarter of a mile before losing control of the car as it sped down at almost twice the 30 mph limit along Bentley Road North in Walsall.
Taking a right-hand bend he careered on to the pavement, hitting Mr Hickinbottom, a retired builder from Bentley, who died three days later, last June.
Mr Howard Searle, prosecuting, said Edwards left the wrecked BMW clutching a bottle of Baileys and, when told by an eye witness that he had knocked down a pedestrian, replied ‘so?’
The 29-year-old defendant, of Cumberland Road, Walsall, had 15 previous convictions for 34 offences, including two previous cases of dangerous driving.
But he was jailed for seven years after admitting causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, driving when disqualified, drink driving and having no insurance.
He was also banned from driving for four-and-a-half years on release from prison.
Judge John Wait said: “Your drunken behaviour had the most appalling consequences but you displayed the most callous indifference.”
In the second case heard on Tuesday, Scrivens, 24, drove a BMW at ‘grossly excessive’ speeds before losing control while exiting a roundabout on Midland Road in Darlaston.
He veered onto the opposite side of the road, hitting cyclist Mr Harrison, who had been riding home from work at Yodel along a cycle lane.
Mr Harrison, aged 59, was also a steward of 20 years at West Bromwich Albion.
Scrivens fled the crash in November – only to hand himself in to police 55 hours later.
'Saying it was a tragic accident is a lie'
Judge Simon Ward said Scrivens, of Booth Street, Handsworth, had waited so long to turn himself in was because he had been driving while drunk or on drugs.
He said: “You (Scrivens) took off the last remaining number plate and lay low. Saying it was a tragic accident is a lie and you know it. I can only imagine how much Nicholas’ friends will miss him.”
Mr Harrison’s brother Christopher, 70, said: “He was my only sibling and his departure has affected me greatly.”
Scrivens, who pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, was jailed for seven and a half years and disqualified from driving for three years.
Last night Mr Hughes said the sentences were not long enough, adding he would look to speak on the issue in Parliament at the next opportunity.
He said: “Ultimately, whatever weapon you use to kill someone – it is just as powerful to use a car as a gun – we need parity in how it is dealt with.
“People must realise the seriousness of dangerous driving.”