A delegation from the Evening Chronicle was due to travel to London today to demand tougher sentences for killer drivers.
Representatives from the Evening Chronicle and its sister paper in Newcastle, The Journal, were to meet with Home Secretary David Blunkett and hand over two petitions.
Chronicle assistant editor Mick Smith and reporter Jamie Diffley were to hand over the Justice for Rebecca Campaign petition, launched after the death of six-year-old Rebecca Sawyer in a New Year’s Eve car smash.
The paper’s delegation was being joined by Rebecca’s aunt and uncle, Sandra and Paul Sawyer, and Wansbeck MP Denis Murphy who has lobbied for tougher sentences for joyriders.
Editor Paul Robertson said: “This campaign has produced an amazing response. More than 42,000 readers signed the Chronicle petition alone while I know other organisations across the country are also demanding action.
“We welcome recent moves to increase sentences for certain driving offences but believe courts should be given discretionary powers to impose life sentences on offenders such as Ian Carr.
“And we back Denis Murphy’s call for a new law of manslaughter by driving. Hopefully the voice of the Chronicle’s readers will be listened to by the Home Secretary.”
Rebecca was killed when her family car was ploughed into by a stolen Astra which had jumped a set of red traffic lights.
Her younger sister Kirsty, who was 18-months old at the time, suffered horrific injuries and is still receiving treatment.
Driver Ian Carr fled the scene although eventually handed himself in. He was jailed for just nine-and-a-half years at Newcastle Crown Court for causing death by dangerous driving. The maximum sentence at the time was 10 years although the Government recently announced that it had been extended to 14 years.
The Journal’s Where’s The Justice Campaign is calling for similar action. Its campaign has realised more than 18,000 signatures.
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