Home
Hit and run speeding driver who killed married couple jailed for ten years, but could be out in 2018

The family of a Bristol couple who were killed on their tandem by a hit and run disqualified driver have handed in a petition for tougher sentences for disqualified drivers who offend again to Downing Street.

Ross and Clare Simons were killed by Nicholas Lovell, a four-times convicted dangerous driver who failed to stop after hitting the couple.

Lovell had been spotted speeding by police and was being pursued shortly before he struck and killed the couple, and admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one of driving while disqualified.

He was jailed for 10 years and six months in May last year, having previously been convicted on 11 separate occasions of driving while disqualified - but he could be out of jail much sooner.

Ross aged 34 and Clare, 30, who had just learnt that they had been approved for IVF treatment, both died at the scene of the incident in Hanham, Bristol, on 27 January last year.

More than 15,000 people have now signed the petition 'Justice for Ross and Clare Simons', both on and offline.

Mr Simons' sister, Kelly Woodruff, told the BBC: "You are living a nightmare every day. Everyone says that time heals, but I am going to carry this until the day I die.

"This is never going to leave me and he is going to come out of prison in four years time. He has a release date already for 2018 - he's going to be out and he's not going to care while we've been given a life sentence and we don't want it."

Mr Simons' father, Edwin, said there should be a more robust system in place for "these prolific law breakers" and called for the police and politicians to have a "way of pulling them out of the system and getting them off the streets".

In a similar case we reported last month, the mother of a cyclist killed when a motorist struck him from behind has said that people convicted of careless driving should be required to retake their driving test before getting their licence back.

Deborah Lumley-Holmes, aged 53, drove into the back of 51-year-old Julian Evans on Newmarket Road, Risby, on October 7, 2012. He suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital the following day at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Lumley-Holmes, who pleaded guilty at her trial to causing Mr Evans’ death through dangerous driving, was handed a six-month suspended sentence and banned from driving for a year.

But the victim’s mother, Janet Evans, insists that motorists convicted in such cases should have to sit their test again and that bans should be longer.

She said “I think it should be mandatory that she should re-take the driving test and I think the ban should be longer than a mere 12 months."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

14 comments

Avatar
LondonCalling [151 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

As long as we cconsider driving a car a basic human right in this country and not the choice and privilege that it is, these horrible deaths and the consequent "oopsy daisy" version of justice will continue. And no retaking tests: you kill with your car, no more driving for you. End of.

Avatar
Flying Scot [945 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

11 convictions for similar offences tells you justice is not working.

Regardless of sentence, the guy should be jailed if he ever gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle again.

Though he does sound sub-human and probably a lifetime ban will not make any difference to his future plans anyway.

Avatar
Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

My heart goes out to all those affected by these appalling incidents.

Maybe the answer is a mandatory driving ban in all "at fault" cases involving death, not just for dangerous driving but for careless driving too. But how can we effectivley lobbly for such a change?

As many of us move towards living arrangements that don't involve the use of a car, and likely to become an increasing trend as we enter an era where cars simply won't be affordable for many people, it just reinforces the fact that a lifetime ban is not the horrendous penalty that many "out of touch", car owning judges believe it to be. It is perfectly possible to live without a car, and it is this philosophy that should be harnessed when we lobby for this important change in the law.

Avatar
oldstrath [787 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Neil753 wrote:

My heart goes out to all those affected by these appalling incidents. But we've got to stop just pressing for longer driving bans. The key to modifying driver behaviour is a mandatory driving ban in all "at fault" cases involving death, not just fro dangerous driving but for careless driving too.

How can we lobby effectively for this vital change?

As many of us move towards living arrangements that don't involve the use of a car, it just reinforces the fact that a lifetime ban is not the horrendous penalty that many "out of touch", Jaguar owning judges believe it to be. It is perfectly possible to live without a car, and it is this philosophy that should be harnessed when we lobby for this important change in the law.

Yes, together with much tougher testing, mandatory retesting at 5 year intervals, strict liability, lower speed limits and greater use of technology for enforcement. Or we could just all give up and move to a civilised country.

Avatar
jacknorell [969 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Petition signed.

Avatar
Mr Agreeable [181 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Changes to the current driving test would not have made a blind bit of difference here. Nicholas Lovell was banned from driving in 1999, and had 11 subsequent convictions for driving while banned. Our current system utterly failed to keep him off the road.

This is a missed opportunity to campaign for more police presence on the roads, or - inconceivable I know - some kind of physical separation between the vulnerable road users and the nutters.

The latter would be preferable, as it would protect me not just from drug-addled twats fleeing the police, but also absent-minded smartphone fiddlers, van drivers who think their next decorating job is more important than passing me safely, and all the other people who I have to deal with as a suburban cyclist.

Unsurprisingly, this petition has been jumped on by our local Tory MP as an alternative to doing controversial things like actually making Hanham safer for walking and cycling. There's been at least one other accident in the same place since.

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/BRISTOL-TRAFFIC-Road-accident-Hanham-involv...

Avatar
kie7077 [907 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Presumed Liability Petition

So put your money where your mouth is, I fail to understand why people moan about the police / CPS / sentencing, but then don't want one of the major fixes to the problem.

Avatar
Mr Agreeable [181 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

"Presumed Liability" (at least the version that many European countries have) doesn't refer to criminal liability at all - it just means the car driver's insurer is more likely to cough up.

http://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/wiki/dutch-cycle-because-strict-liabil...

We already have strict liability for rear-end shunts. Does that mean drivers are more careful with stopping distances? Does it heck as like.

Avatar
oldstrath [787 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Instead of being driven off the roads, why not campaign for the loons to be driven off. Remote immobilisation is possible, and could be coupled with GPS technology and speed limiters to allow most car idiocy to be dealt with centrally. The only other solution I can see that would be completely effective basically involves a variation on Sharia law, where offenders lose appendages (has its attractions, but I can see the odd liberal whinge).

Avatar
Mr Agreeable [181 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

A good 50% of the cars round our way are refugees from the scrappage scheme. If you could retrofit them with flying capability as well as GPS tracking, you might get a half decent uptake. Otherwise...

Avatar
Initialised [318 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Seat belts, crumple zones, side impact protection, all legislated for, so why not add the following, by law to new vehicles, the tech is ready:

Black box data recorder hooked up to the following:
Triple redundant (LIDAR+SONAR+RADAR) collision avoidance system.
GPS
Front, rear, off side and nearside fisheye cameras with broad-spectrum sensors (IR-Visible-UV)
Remote kill switch, the engine is sent to a low power mode and the engine management light comes on, the vehicle cannot be restarted after the coming to a stop in a safe location
Black box data would be used for individual insurance premiums
Tampering with the black box would be punishable by a minimum of 12 month ban and retest

All EU countries sign a zero road deaths target for 2025, countries that fail must compensate victims families for their infrastructure failure to the tune of £100,000 per year of life-expectancy remaining

Avatar
oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
LondonCalling wrote:

As long as we cconsider driving a car a basic human right in this country and not the choice and privilege that it is, these horrible deaths and the consequent "oopsy daisy" version of justice will continue. And no retaking tests: you kill with your car, no more driving for you. End of.

Absolutely agree. Part of the reason for the reluctance of courts to remove licences for permanently or for long periods is that it can ruin careers or make it impossible to carry on with a particular livelihood.

However this is one of the consequences that has successfully underpinned the drink driving laws. ie you will definitely lose your licence and that may mean you lose your job, that may mean you lose your home or have massive difficulties keeping it, it may end up with your marriage or relationship breaking down and christ alone knows what insurance rates you will have to pay in future. So don't even think about doing it!

That should also be the message on dangerous and careless driving. That's the crime. Whether you kill or injure someone by careless or dangerous driving is just a matter of bad luck and circumstance. The fact is that you were driving dangerously. To much emphasis is placed by courts on the bad luck element. That needs to be reversed. Dangerous driving is serious because you are lucky if you don't end up killing someone not unlucky if you do.

Avatar
oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Mr Agreeable wrote:

We already have strict liability for rear-end shunts. Does that mean drivers are more careful with stopping distances? Does it heck as like.

I wish it were true. When I learned to drive this was the case. In that if you hit something in front of you you were to blame. This bias (correct bias in my opinion) is unfortunately the basis of the particular crash for cash scam of the "slam on" Usually practiced at roundabouts it works by a car making as if to move away such that the car behind starts to move as well then the scamming car just slams on the brakes at precisely the moment the other driver is moviing forward and looking right.

I had was rear ended about 4 years ago whilst in a slow moving traffic queue. The car following me left a gap and another driver from another faster moving lane decided to go into the gap and misjudged it. He he the back of may car. Bang to rights really. But there was a devil of an argument put up to try to muddy the waters. He claimed it was a slam on collision but the fact that I only wanted my rear bumper fixed and hadn't feigned any other injuries etc soon nailed that one. I did however get asked several times by my insurer if that's all I wanted to claim.

Don't be fooled there are plenty of people out there that will dispute that they were at fault rear ending you and can make it pretty diffuicult for you if they try hard enough. Always take the legal protection. If they have it and you son't then you are vulnerable to a "they can't lose" claim.

Avatar
Mr Agreeable [181 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Oozaveared, that sounds like a contributory negligence issue rather than a liability issue. Some insurers will try it on if they think they can reduce the amount they have to pay out, even if legally they don't have a leg to stand on.