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Samuel Kirk was illegally overtaking on wrong side of road when he hit Jennifer Hossack who was riding in opposite direction

A Sussex motorist who was banned from driving and over the drink-drive limit when he killed a female cyclist has been given a six-year prison sentence and a three-year ban after being convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. 

Jennifer Hossack, aged 27 and from Kingsfold near Horsham, died from injuries she sustained on the evening of 27 September when she was struck by a Citroën Xsara driven by Samuel Kirk, aged 26, near Pulborough.

Kirk, who has no fixed address, had driven across double white lines in the road to illegally overtake another car when his vehicle hit Miss Hossack, who was riding in the opposite direction, reports The Argus

His car crashed after he lost control of it, and he fled the scene, Lewes Crown Court was told.

After he was sentenced, Sergeant Stewart Goodwin of Sussex Police said: "The actions of Samuel Kirk show exactly what can happen when someone gets behind the wheel after drinking.

"His behaviour cost the Hossack family their loved one and have cost him his liberty.

"The message to people considering drink-driving is simple - don't do it."

Days after Miss Hossack’s death, Kirk appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court and was jailed for 20 weeks after pleading guilty to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Kirk, who was disqualified at the time of the fatal incident and had also been drinking, will have to take an extended driving test once his ban expires before he can get his licence back.

Since 2009, in cases where a custodial sentence has been imposed, driving bans only start running once the motorist has been released from prison.

That change in the law was the result of a campaign fought by Jan Woodward, whose daughter Kelly, aged 19, was killed after accepting a lift home from a party from a man who had twice as much alcohol in his bloodstream as the legal limit.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the victim’s mother that the sentence was unduly lenient, increasing the prison sentence handed down to Andrew Burrell from two and a half years to four and a half years, and banning him for driving for five years.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

41 comments

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zeb [49 posts] 2 years ago
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Less than half the maximum (which is 14 years) for someone who was drunk, banned, and did a hit and run.

I wonder, what do you need to do to get the maximum?

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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So let me see if I have this right, even if he serves the normal half sentence, he'll be out around the time his ban is up?

Leaving him either free to drive again or at most having to sit another test?

Should have gotten a ban that kept him from the roads for a long time, a friend of mine had a crash, while driving dangerously and killed another friend who was the passenger. He got a 5 year jail term and a 10 year ban from driving.....but because it was a cyclist, again the sentence is no where near the maximum  14

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bauchlebastart [102 posts] 2 years ago
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So let me see if I have this right, even if he serves the normal half sentence, he'll be out around the time his ban is up?

NO

Since 2009, in cases where a custodial sentence has been imposed, driving bans only start running once the motorist has been released from prison.

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stinga [11 posts] 2 years ago
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What is the point of giving him another driving ban? He was already banned and this didn't stop him from getting behind the wheel. The original ban didn't work... so cut his arms off, that will stop him.

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Krd51 [28 posts] 2 years ago
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Just hang him!!!!!!

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OldRidgeback [2657 posts] 2 years ago
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Maybe he'll have learned a lesson and modify his behaviour, maybe not. A six year sentence is no small thing, though perhaps his victim's family would want him to serve more time. Sometimes people do realise their anti social behaviour damages the lives of others, sometimes not. This isn't North Korea though and we don't hang people in this country any more.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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What a sad story. RIP to the cyclist.

But what I've never understood is a ban whilst someone is in jail. Surely it would be more sensible (and act as more of a deterent) if the ban started on the day the offender is released. Does anyone else agree with this?

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unsliced [17 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

I wonder, what do you need to do to get the maximum?

Not kill a cyclist, there's your 50% off right there.

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GazHove [24 posts] 2 years ago
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I despair at some people on this planet. They just appear to not to give a shit. the threat of law or any punishment has no effect and it's always someone else who has to pick up the consequences of their actions. Its genuinely depressing.

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GazHove [24 posts] 2 years ago
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I despair at some people on this planet. They just appear to not to give a shit. the threat of law or any punishment has no effect and it's always someone else who has to pick up the consequences of their actions. Its genuinely depressing.

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GazHove [24 posts] 2 years ago
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I despair at some people on this planet. They just appear to not to give a shit. the threat of law or any punishment has no effect and it's always someone else who has to pick up the consequences of their actions. Its genuinely depressing.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [424 posts] 2 years ago
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> What is the point of giving him another driving ban?

Driving while banned is an arrestable offence, unlike driving without a licence.

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Wolfshade [197 posts] 2 years ago
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A person is recently sentanced to 35 years for not killing someone, and a person is sentanced for 6 years for killing someone, hmm.

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consciousbadger [41 posts] 2 years ago
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Do Kirk's actions not qualify as involuntary manslaughter?

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racyrich [271 posts] 2 years ago
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How many more aggravating factors are needed to get a proper sentence? I can't actually think of anything else wrong he could have done.

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oozaveared [945 posts] 2 years ago
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The trouble is that this sort of sentence is not only half the maximum ( I agree what do you have to do to get the max if you drunk, already banned, uninsured, cause death by dangerous driving and hit and run. I mean what else is there left to take you to 14 years? the trouble as I was saying is that initial sentences are too lenient.

There is a criminology theory nicknamed "broken windows" that studied the effect that run down areas suffer increasing crime and vandalism. In short the sign that some broken windows etc give off is that this is an area that no-one really cares about and that leads to further disrespect. No-one is going to stop you for something like littering in an area like that. Nobody cares.

The lesson that New York City took in reducing it's crime rate so dramatically was to start policing the little stuff. The lesson being that if you do get fined for something seemingly trivial like littering then you had best not consider fly tipping. The point was that the police showed they did care.

Instead of trying to be the motorists friend like some 70's hippy teacher/social worker, the police ought to grow a pair and be police officers. That means sweating the small stuff. Because if you get done for the small stuff it sends the message that the police do care about the road space.

And courts need to back that up. So far as I can tell this sentence should have been near or at the maximum as there are very few mitigating circumstances.

Six years is half so that's what I'd expect yes for causing death by dangerous driving but perhaps with an otherwise clean record, not over the limit, and taking proper responsibility after and not just driving off.

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Goldfever4 [225 posts] 2 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

What a sad story. RIP to the cyclist.

But what I've never understood is a ban whilst someone is in jail. Surely it would be more sensible (and act as more of a deterent) if the ban started on the day the offender is released. Does anyone else agree with this?

See bauchlebastart's comment.... (ban starts at end of prison term)

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kie7077 [884 posts] 2 years ago
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Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

> What is the point of giving him another driving ban?

Driving while banned is an arrestable offence, unlike driving without a licence.

Unbelievable, and only 3 to 6 points on a license you don't have if caught!! UK driving laws are a joke.

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RedfishUK [140 posts] 2 years ago
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Less than half the maximum (which is 14 years) for someone who was drunk, banned, and did a hit and run.

I wonder, what do you need to do to get the maximum?

He pleaded Guilty at the Magistrates court in September..an early guilty plea gives an automatic reduction in sentence ..on the grounds it saves the family the trauma of a trial, but also as it is cheaper for the Courts...

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ironmancole [327 posts] 2 years ago
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Beyond pathetic, the guy ran off as well...the ultimate act of cowardice and self preservation whilst his victim was either dead or in a terrible state of fear and agony as she contemplated her demise. So so sorry for her and those who lost her.

So, if a teacher sexually abuses a child, not even killing it we all stand together and collectively agree they're very naughty and certainly shouldn't be a teacher again.

This guy, whilst banned and drunk chooses to drive like a total knob and kills a beautiful young woman in her prime and then runs off.

We don't condemn him to the equivalent punishment we gave the teacher, which is a sexual offenders registration, imprisonment and the denial of his future career.

Instead we give him a nominal custodial sentence and allow him back on the roads, it's just like telling the teacher they can come back and teach in three years.

Question is no MP on the planet would face the public and argue that such a teacher should be allowed to return to their career.

In contrast the vast majority of MPs by their continued indifference will stand and argue that this latest murderer has the right to join you back on the roads and put the lives if everyone you love at risk...and that's just fine?

I believe it's time a focused campaign was started, perhaps using this guy as the subject, to call for a change in the law to support the notion that killer drivers like this are not permitted to hold a licence again.

If they won't do that then we might as well let sex offenders back into the teaching environment, it's all just madness however you look at it.

Would there be support on this forum to start such a campaign? Motorists should also support it bearing in mind none of them are dangerous and its always someone else's poor driving. It's about safety for everyone at the end of the day isn't it?

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FluffyKittenofT... [1334 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
oozaveared wrote:

The trouble is that this sort of sentence is not only half the maximum ( I agree what do you have to do to get the max if you drunk, already banned, uninsured, cause death by dangerous driving and hit and run. I mean what else is there left to take you to 14 years? the trouble as I was saying is that initial sentences are too lenient.

There is a criminology theory nicknamed "broken windows" that studied the effect that run down areas suffer increasing crime and vandalism. In short the sign that some broken windows etc give off is that this is an area that no-one really cares about and that leads to further disrespect. No-one is going to stop you for something like littering in an area like that. Nobody cares.

The lesson that New York City took in reducing it's crime rate so dramatically was to start policing the little stuff. The lesson being that if you do get fined for something seemingly trivial like littering then you had best not consider fly tipping. The point was that the police showed they did care.

Instead of trying to be the motorists friend like some 70's hippy teacher/social worker, the police ought to grow a pair and be police officers. That means sweating the small stuff. Because if you get done for the small stuff it sends the message that the police do care about the road space.

And courts need to back that up. So far as I can tell this sentence should have been near or at the maximum as there are very few mitigating circumstances.

Six years is half so that's what I'd expect yes for causing death by dangerous driving but perhaps with an otherwise clean record, not over the limit, and taking proper responsibility after and not just driving off.

I'm not sure I agree with everything you say.

I agree this case really does make one wonder what on Earth a driver has to do to merit the maximum sentence.

Also, as an aside, I'm curious to know how many drivers each year are actually arrested or convicted of driving while banned, and what penalty they receive.

Because so often you get bad drivers committing other offenses while driving while banned and the 'driving while banned' part appears to add nothing to their rather lenient sentences and you get the impression that had that been the _only_ thing they'd done nothing would have happened at all.
Are driving bans actually enforced in any meaningful way? If not, what is the point of them? Are there statistics on this?

What I'm not sure I agree with is your stress on 'zero tolerance' policing. I'm unconvinced by this because of the way it has led to utterly absurd outcomes where its been used in the US, particularly in schools - children being expelled because they took anti-asthma medication or some such because the school has a 'zero tolerance' policy to drug use.

I don't think coming down like a ton of bricks on people who commit genuinely minor or purely technical offenses makes up for an institutional bias towards lenient treatment for a whole category of serious offenses.

I also read somewhere an academic has shown that penalties for non-motoring offenses have been getting harsher in recent years, while those for motoring ones have been getting softer.

The real problem is a bias in the whole system towards treating certain categories of offence more lightly than others. Motoring-related-crime is definitely one such, though I suspect there are others.

Unfortunately, across all societies, justice seems unavoidably influenced by political factors, i.e. questions of power. Its one of those things that I fear has no complete solution.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [1334 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
RedfishUK wrote:

Less than half the maximum (which is 14 years) for someone who was drunk, banned, and did a hit and run.

I wonder, what do you need to do to get the maximum?

He pleaded Guilty at the Magistrates court in September..an early guilty plea gives an automatic reduction in sentence ..on the grounds it saves the family the trauma of a trial, but also as it is cheaper for the Courts...

Was there any serious chance he could have avoided being found guilty?
I'm dubious about that policy, in that it seems to be more useful for those who know they have been caught 'bang to rights' than for those who might genuinely be innocent and want to clear their name. As with 'plea bargaining' it seems to put saving money ahead of actually administering justice.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1334 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
bauchlebastart wrote:

So let me see if I have this right, even if he serves the normal half sentence, he'll be out around the time his ban is up?

NO

Since 2009, in cases where a custodial sentence has been imposed, driving bans only start running once the motorist has been released from prison.

Good Lord - it took until 2009 for anyone to figure out people don't drive while in prison?

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teaboy [311 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
ironmancole wrote:

I believe it's time a focused campaign was started, perhaps using this guy as the subject, to call for a change in the law to support the notion that killer drivers like this are not permitted to hold a licence again.

If they won't do that then we might as well let sex offenders back into the teaching environment, it's all just madness however you look at it.

Would there be support on this forum to start such a campaign? Motorists should also support it bearing in mind none of them are dangerous and its always someone else's poor driving. It's about safety for everyone at the end of the day isn't it?

Whilst I agree 100% with the sentiment it wasn't the validity of a driving licence that caused the crash. This particular man was already banned from driving, so banning dangerous drivers clearly doesn't stop them getting behind the wheel. Some people will flout the law, whatever you make it, and I feel that this individual is one of those people.

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garygarry [7 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

it's not an issue, read the piece again - Since 2009, in cases where a custodial sentence has been imposed, driving bans only start running once the motorist has been released from prison.

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teaboy [311 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
garygarry wrote:

it's not an issue, read the piece again - Since 2009, in cases where a custodial sentence has been imposed, driving bans only start running once the motorist has been released from prison.

But the driver was ALREADY banned at the time of the incident.

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ironmancole [327 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

A driving ban should be backed up with a very hefty non excusable custodial sentence along with permanent revocation of driving privilege, yes privilege...not right.

Until our soppy MPs wake up nothing will change.

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hood [117 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

great, a jail sentence for someone who killed a cyclist. its a start.
but its still disgusting that a drunk banned driver on the wrong side of the road ONLY got 6 years in prison.

goes to show the easiest way to commit manslaughter is by using a car,, and cyclists are not equal human beings to everyone else

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ragtag [218 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

His sentence (that is actually going to prison) probably has more to do with his driving while being banned. I think this annoys the courts more than killing people. They don't like being ignored. But agree, being banned and driving while drunk, the guy doesn't give a toss and very little will stop him doing it again.

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oozaveared [945 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
oozaveared wrote:

The trouble is that this sort of sentence is not only half the maximum ( I agree what do you have to do to get the max if you drunk, already banned, uninsured, cause death by dangerous driving and hit and run. I mean what else is there left to take you to 14 years? the trouble as I was saying is that initial sentences are too lenient.

There is a criminology theory nicknamed "broken windows" that studied the effect that run down areas suffer increasing crime and vandalism. In short the sign that some broken windows etc give off is that this is an area that no-one really cares about and that leads to further disrespect. No-one is going to stop you for something like littering in an area like that. Nobody cares.

The lesson that New York City took in reducing it's crime rate so dramatically was to start policing the little stuff. The lesson being that if you do get fined for something seemingly trivial like littering then you had best not consider fly tipping. The point was that the police showed they did care.

Instead of trying to be the motorists friend like some 70's hippy teacher/social worker, the police ought to grow a pair and be police officers. That means sweating the small stuff. Because if you get done for the small stuff it sends the message that the police do care about the road space.

And courts need to back that up. So far as I can tell this sentence should have been near or at the maximum as there are very few mitigating circumstances.

Six years is half so that's what I'd expect yes for causing death by dangerous driving but perhaps with an otherwise clean record, not over the limit, and taking proper responsibility after and not just driving off.

I'm not sure I agree with everything you say.

What I'm not sure I agree with is your stress on 'zero tolerance' policing. I'm unconvinced by this because of the way it has led to utterly absurd outcomes where its been used in the US, particularly in schools - children being expelled because they took anti-asthma medication or some such because the school has a 'zero tolerance' policy to drug use.

I don't think coming down like a ton of bricks on people who commit genuinely minor or purely technical offenses makes up for an institutional bias towards lenient treatment for a whole category of serious offenses.

I also read somewhere an academic has shown that penalties for non-motoring offenses have been getting harsher in recent years, while those for motoring ones have been getting softer.

The real problem is a bias in the whole system towards treating certain categories of offence more lightly than others. Motoring-related-crime is definitely one such, though I suspect there are others.

Unfortunately, across all societies, justice seems unavoidably influenced by political factors, i.e. questions of power. Its one of those things that I fear has no complete solution.

Thanks but I didn't mention zero tolerance policing. And stupid rules are just stupid rules. So conflating the quite simple idea that the police take a more active role in dealing with lower levels of road crime with zero tolerance and then with the idiocy of some school rules in the US is not really that fair.

Taking a broken windows based approach may merely be to stop and warn, pull people over for etc but just not ignore offences such that people collectively believe that the offence isn't even important enough to be enforced and thereby raising the bar on road crime.

Another example is the study done by Nottingham University where they took the numbers of cars parking is disabled and mother toddler bays that were not displaying a disabled badge or were obviously not parents with toddlers. Notts police then ran those registrations through the computer and found that there was a high number of markers attached, uninsured not MOTd, untaxed, etc but alos the police#'s own markers based on intelligence that the vehicle belongs to a disqualified driver or one with multiple or previous serious driving offences other criminal activity.

The conclusion was that policing low level offences actually is a good way to catch those that commit more serious offences. People prepared to break some rules are very often likely to break other more serious rules. That also corresponds with the broken windows approach.

I lived in the US for a while and I don't want to generalise for a whole continent but I certainly found that speeding was rigorously enforced. If you were travelling any distance over the speed limit then you stood a good chance of being stopped. I can't express the regularity of it enough. On highways you would have most traffic travelling at or around the limit. The odd obvious speeder would pass and in a few miles they'd been pulled over. Regular as clockwork. And every driver on that highway saw that happen.

I contrast that with driving on a UK motorway where a lot of the time you stick out like a sore thumb if you are obeying the limit. That is when you have discussions that end up pontificating whether the police allow you to drive at 80 or 85 and people feeling hard done by that they got a ticket at 81 mph. Where I lived in California the charge for this man would have been Vehicular Homicide - First degree because it was aggravated by alcohol and attempting to flee law enforcement plus he had previous and was on a ban so that would have had him classified as an "habitual" he would have got the maximum and that would have been 20 years. 15 for the offence plus 5 for it being habitual behaviour. Our sentences are not dissimilar but sentencing policy would mean that if he behaved himself in California he could apply for parole at 7 years served. If he didn't then he would serve 20.

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