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Death by dangerous driving penalties 'being reviewed'

Call for longer sentences following deaths in London earlier this month

Drivers who kill may face tougher sentences, the Prime Minister suggested yesterday.

Speaking in the Commons, Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her sympathies for those who died when a stolen car being chased by police killed a 34-year-old women and her ten-year-old nephew.

“I am aware of the concern that there is about the law on dangerous driving. The daughter of constituents of mine was killed as a result of dangerous driving and they have raised concerns with me specifically about their case,” she added.

“This is a matter which, I believe, the Ministry of Justice is looking at.”

The issue was raised by Jim Dowd, MP for Lewisham West and Penge, who asked for a review of the death by dangerous driving law following the deaths of Rozanne Cooper and her nephew Makayah McDermott on September 1.

The maximum prison sentence for someone convicted of death by dangerous driving is 14 years, with the offence carrying a minimum sentence of a year in prison and disqualification from driving for at least two years.

The Ministry of Justice said: “We are considering the penalties for driving-related offences to find the best way forward.”

The family of couple killed by a driver who was 16 times the legal drug-driving limit are also calling for a review of the sentencing guidelines to allow judges to impose jail times that match those for manslaughter.

Richard Lewis-Clements, 46, and his long-term partner Maria Smith, 48, were killed when builder Jodan Hunt’s Seat Leon crashed into the couple's VW Polo in Eastbourne on August 12.

Last month, the 24-year-old was jailed for six years after pleading guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, but the victims’ families said the sentence was “not good enough”.

We simply want an end to drivers being given free rein to drive like maniacs on our roads without consequences,” said Ms Smith’s cousin.

If four years in jail is the most a driver who kills receives, what deterrents can there possibly be for people caught speeding or drink-driving?

More than 750 people have signed the petition at change.org calling on Justice Secretary Liz Truss to introduce the changes.