Widow of cyclist killed by drink-driver says he should have been jailed for life

Eight year sentence and ten year ban for driver at least three times over limit who left scene

by John Stevenson   April 1, 2014  

Justice (Lonpicman, Wikimedia Commons)

The widow of a cyclist killed by a driver who was three times over the alcohol limit says his sentence should have been life, and not just eight years.

Kingsley Gordon-Allen, 20, hit Edward Orrey, 56, outside Leytonstone tube station at around 6.30am on February 9, 2013. Mr Orrey, who was on his way home from working as a steel erection foreman on the “Cheesegrater” Leadenhall Building, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gordon-Allen pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving whilst unfit through alcohol. He was sentenced on Friday at Wood Green Crown Court to eight years in prison and disqualified from driving for ten years.

He had been on the wrong side of the road when he hit Mr Orrey — also known as George — and was at least three times over the alcohol limit. He drove away from the scene, leaving his victim to die in the road.

Yesterday, his widow, Elaine, condemned the “disgusting” sentence, telling the Evening Standard's Simon Freeman: “He should serve life for taking away my husband’s life.

“My husband had just learned he was going to be a grandfather again …  He was killed a few days after my birthday and a few days before we were about to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. On my birthday every year I will remember my husband and what this man did to him.”

Shortly after Mr Orrey’s death, his wife told the Standard: “I am mad, furious. The driver should be made to stand in that mortuary and look at what they have done. Maybe then they will show some remorse, looking at what they have left on the side of the road.

“George had everything he needed for his bike. He was in a dangerous job and he did everything he could to be safe in that job, it was the same on his bike. If there was any time to get away from it he would have done but it was head on and he stood no chance.”

Gordon-Allen’s abandoned Peugeot 206 was located a short while after the crash in nearby Bushwood, E11. Two other males, aged 18 and 16, were arrested with him, but later released with no further action.

A post-mortem examination took place on Monday, February 11 at Walthamstow Mortuary and gave cause of death as multiple injuries.

The offence of causing death by careless driving whilst unfit through alcohol carries a range of penalties from 18 months' to 14 years' imprisonment depending on the severity of the conduct leading to the fatality and the degree of intoxication.

In this case, with a reading of over three times the alcohol limit and aggravating factors such as failing to stop, the likley range is 7-12 years. Pleading guilty is a mitigating factor which a judge would have taken into account.

CTC Road Justice campaigner Rhia Weston said: “Drivers who enter early guilty pleas can receive up to a third off their sentence, thus, if the driver hadn’t entered a guilty plea, logically the judge would have imposed a 12 year prison sentence. This is very close to the maximum 14 year penalty, which is rarely used as there have to be multiple aggravating factors involved such as previous driving convictions and several victims.

"CTC’s Road Justice campaign is calling for tougher sentencing that discourages bad driving and removes dangerous drivers from the roads, with a focus on substantial driving bans and custodial sentences for the worst offenders. The campaign will hold a debate on sentencing of bad drivers in June 2014."

39 user comments

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oldstrath wrote:
MKultra wrote:
oldstrath wrote:
Don't understand how this is not murder - if I killed someone with a knife while too pissed to know better would I be let off this lightly?

At the very least he should lose the right drive, ever.

Sadly as pre-meditation is not proven it's not murder. It should be manslaughter though rather than a "driving" offence IMHO.

Legally I'm sure you're right. This is the bit I don't really get though - you get (very) drunk, then get into a car and deliberately drive it through a crowded city. You may not have intended to kill the specific person you actually killed, but you surely intended to harm people.

Pre-meditation means a pre planned targeted killing of an individual or setting out with the intent kill the first person you come across for your own gratification or as part of a robbery (either or). This idiot convinced himself that he would not kill anyone even if he did. Murder was not the intent. Manslaughter fits, the trouble is getting a jury to convict as they always have the holy driving licence blinkers on.

posted by MKultra [208 posts]
1st April 2014 - 16:11

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Why doesn't leaving the scene mitigate the guilty plea?

WTF does the guilty pleas ALWAYS count for so much more than all the aggravating circumstances!?

posted by jacknorell [336 posts]
1st April 2014 - 16:12

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you don't get much justice through the courts, and why only careless driving? If this happened to someone I love, I'd seek my own retribution

posted by anarchy [57 posts]
1st April 2014 - 16:19

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Lifetime ban, no question. This is where sentencing currently falls pathetically short of what is necessary. Driving licenses are actually quite hard to get these days, yet they are insultingly easy to keep.

seven's picture

posted by seven [107 posts]
1st April 2014 - 16:30

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Yep, hit and runs resulting in death should attract a mandatory lifetime ban. Easy implimented, easily understood. The thing is, with so many of us choosing not to drive, it's perfectly possible for an offender to adapt to a life without a car, even if the average Jaguar driving judge sees it differently.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
1st April 2014 - 16:46

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Guy Collier wrote:
MKultra wrote:
oldstrath wrote:
MKultra wrote:
oldstrath wrote:
Don't understand how this is not murder - if I killed someone with a knife while too pissed to know better would I be let off this lightly?

At the very least he should lose the right drive, ever.

Sadly as pre-meditation is not proven it's not murder. It should be manslaughter though rather than a "driving" offence IMHO.

Legally I'm sure you're right. This is the bit I don't really get though - you get (very) drunk, then get into a car and deliberately drive it through a crowded city. You may not have intended to kill the specific person you actually killed, but you surely intended to harm people.

Pre-meditation means a pre planned targeted killing of an individual or setting out with the intent kill the first person you come across for your own gratification or as part of a robbery (either or). This idiot convinced himself that he would not kill anyone even if he did. Murder was not the intent. Manslaughter fits, the trouble is getting a jury to convict as they always have the holy driving licence blinkers on.

Remember to factor in recklessness, which can provide the necessary mens rea (per R vs Cunningham, and previously R vs Caldwell) but in this sort of case a charge of manslaughter is far more likely to succeed than one of murder.

Doesn't mean a murder case would necessarily fail, more that the CPS will act in the public interest to secure the more likely conviction.

A murder charge will nearly always fail.

They never succeed in prosecuting/convicting the usual drunken night out one punch killers for murder so nailing a drunk driver for murder is a stretch to say the least.

posted by MKultra [208 posts]
1st April 2014 - 16:53

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MKultra wrote:
oldstrath wrote:
MKultra wrote:
oldstrath wrote:
Don't understand how this is not murder - if I killed someone with a knife while too pissed to know better would I be let off this lightly?

At the very least he should lose the right drive, ever.

Sadly as pre-meditation is not proven it's not murder. It should be manslaughter though rather than a "driving" offence IMHO.

Legally I'm sure you're right. This is the bit I don't really get though - you get (very) drunk, then get into a car and deliberately drive it through a crowded city. You may not have intended to kill the specific person you actually killed, but you surely intended to harm people.

Pre-meditation means a pre planned targeted killing of an individual or setting out with the intent kill the first person you come across for your own gratification or as part of a robbery (either or). This idiot convinced himself that he would not kill anyone even if he did. Murder was not the intent. Manslaughter fits, the trouble is getting a jury to convict as they always have the holy driving licence blinkers on.

Remember to factor in recklessness, which can provide the necessary mens rea (per R vs Cunningham, and previously R vs Caldwell) but in this sort of case a charge of manslaughter is far more likely to succeed than one of murder.

Doesn't mean a murder case would necessarily fail, more that the CPS will act in the public interest to secure the more likely conviction.

posted by Guy Collier [17 posts]
1st April 2014 - 16:54

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jacknorell wrote:
Why doesn't leaving the scene mitigate the guilty plea?

Because the law may excuse hot blood but not cold blood.

It's why crime of passion will often result in a less severe sentence than a planned act.

posted by Guy Collier [17 posts]
1st April 2014 - 16:55

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jacknorell wrote:
Why doesn't leaving the scene mitigate the guilty plea?

WTF does the guilty pleas ALWAYS count for so much more than all the aggravating circumstances!?

because it saves the additional costs associated with preparing for a trial, as well as more court time and saves loved ones the additional stress and grief associated with waiting for and enduring a contested trial. It is and always has been the most significant mitigating factor in the vast majority of cases. So, assuming 1/3rd off for a timely guilty plea the starting point for sentence was about 11/12 years which on current guidance/authority is about right. He will be eligible for release after serving half the sentence but will remain on licence until the end of the sentence.

Manslaughter? Definitely not...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10663783/One-punch-
killers-receive-average-sentences-of-less-than-four-years.html

Properly charged and appropriately sentenced on the law and guidelines. Would i like to see them changed upwards? yes.

bobinski

posted by bobinski [111 posts]
1st April 2014 - 17:04

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Two things surprised me.

1) That his sentence was as high as 8 years.
2) "Causing death by careless driving whilst unfit through alcohol." How the Hell can that be careless? Even if you had been living under a rock on Mars for the last hundred years you would understand that drinking and driving are totally unacceptable. He knowingly drank alcohol, he knowingly got in a motor car, he knowingly drove it on the public road. How is that not classed as dangerous?

This man left a fellow human being to die in the street and it seems to count for nothing. He pleads guilty in court and because he is saving the justice system time and money that counts for everything.

IT IS WRONG! IT IS WRONG! IT IS WRONG!

posted by levermonkey [356 posts]
1st April 2014 - 19:03

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I agree with levermonkey here, it should never be careless when you look at his readings. 3 times the limit is at least 105mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, also remember he left the scene and was not caught till later so his readings at the time of the accident could have been higher.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2697 posts]
1st April 2014 - 19:27

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I don't know what I think about the sentence itself. I don't really know what my view is about prison sentences generally - one can _always_ up the ante and insist it should be higher. I suppose the main question is consistency.

But I remain baffled about the whole concept of 'careless' vs 'dangerous' driving. It makes very little sense to me.

Driving while seriously under the influence of alcohol seems to me to be clearly dangerous. Driving at twice or more the speed limit is surely dangerous. Who or what decided that is merely 'careless'?

Is there any actual science behind this? Any factual basis for decreeing that, for example, driving at twice the speed limit (as in the case of the guy who recently had his sentence halved after killing a child) is not, in fact, dangerous? I note that in that case the driver lost control after hitting a speed bump at nearly 40mph, which, to me, I guess naively, suggests that driving at that speed in a 20mph residential speed-bump area is, in fact, rather dangerous.

Are there no guidelines on these matters? And if so, should they not be redrawn so they actually make sense?

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [657 posts]
1st April 2014 - 19:59

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Careless?! How the cocking balls was this not a charge of dangerous driving?! The CPS need to take their head out of their arses. Grrrrrrrr......

you can’t ride two bikes with one arse

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posted by picko [26 posts]
1st April 2014 - 20:15

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posted by Critchio [106 posts]
1st April 2014 - 20:18

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This goes way beyond "dangerous driving".

posted by northstar [1099 posts]
1st April 2014 - 20:22

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What a nice sounding chap.

seven's picture

posted by seven [107 posts]
1st April 2014 - 20:28

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Is it at all possible it's an error on the part of the Evening Standard and it really was the (far more appropriate, I'd have thought) "dangerous driving"?

Googling just turns up the other interesting illustrations of the guy's character that others have linked to above.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [657 posts]
1st April 2014 - 20:40

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"The driver should be made to stand in that mortuary and look at what they have done. Maybe then they will show some remorse, looking at what they have left on the side of the road."

If they don't show remorse they should be locked up for life as they are probably a dangerous psychopath.

posted by Initialised [112 posts]
1st April 2014 - 23:38

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This driver should be strung up not sent to prison. Some might say his 8 year sentence is a joke, some might say his sentence is harsh given that many drivers that kill get a handshake from the judge and jury. Either way something is badly wrong with our justice system that allows some one to get back in a car albeit after some time who previously showed such contempt for other road users by driving pissed, three times over the limit, then fled when he realised what he had done. The scum bag should be strung up, but sadly all the liberal do gooders and Guardian readers won't hear of it. They do those that have to deal with the loss of their loved ones a great disservice.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [269 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 0:33

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I find it hard for any accident to be classified as careless,

But feel it should automatically be dangerous driving if you are breaking the law whilst driving and cause an accident.
If you knowing break the law by being on the Phone, Speeding , drunk etc. the defence of carelessness should be unavailable as your decisions have automatically created a dangerous situation.

posted by Denzilwood [23 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 9:34

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Airzound wrote:
The scum bag should be strung up, but sadly all the liberal do gooders and Guardian readers won't hear of it. They do those that have to deal with the loss of their loved ones a great disservice.

Killing a murderer does no real good to the bereaved. Some of those who had a family member killed by the IRA have publically forgiven the murderers. This forgiveness is what is taught by the Christian religion, and other religions too. It is not confined to liberals or Guardian readers.

posted by felixcat [208 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 9:43

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unless clearly stated as an accident, any death should result in your "life" being taken away, i.e. jail for life.

this guy will be out in 4 years on good behavior after watching plenty of Sky Sports tv in his cell while the widow will still be grieving coming up to her 40th wedding anniversary.

At Wits End

posted by a_to_the_j [73 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 9:47

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Driving whilst pissed isn't "careless" its downright dangerous!

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posted by gb901 [149 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 11:42

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So while waiting for his "hit and run" case to be dealt with in court he goes out over the new year and assaults another poor guy, who subsequently loses an eye - charming!

Wonder what slap on the wrist hell get for this latest misdemeanour?

gb901's picture

posted by gb901 [149 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 12:02

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Causing death by dangerous or careless driving should be a automatic life ban from driving, no exceptions.
Likewise for a second offence of being caught over the alcohol limit.

posted by thereverent [298 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 13:54

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Time to end this "Death by dangerous / careless" nonsense. We only need murder and manslaughter, with sentences appropriate. Doesn't matter if you kill someone with a knife, a gun, or a car. They're still dead by your hand. There is no other "careless death" law except for drivers.

Not so much a six pack as a barrel!

posted by Bigfoz [62 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 15:47

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I am the daughter of George Orrey. I firstly want to confirm that the charge was careless and not dangerous driving. Kingsley Gordon-Allen in my eyes is a heartless killer and will definitely go on to seriously injure/ murder further innocent people as he proved attacking yet another innocent man on new years day resulting in the poor man losing an eye - but atleast he did walk away. At 20 years old he has been in trouble many times before killing my dad and driving a mile in his smashed up car leaving my dad to die alone. I will NEVER forgive him and his family disgust me - saying at court that we need to accept accidents happen!!! This was no accident he intentionally got into his car very drunk, drove over 30 minutes in this state, killed my dad, drove a further mile, left the car and ran to get a taxi to go home to bed!!! I know many people will disagree with this but as far as I am concerned this country should operate a life for a life justice system - end of.

posted by frankie1979 [4 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 20:54

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frankie, i dont think anyone on this forum would expect you to forgive him, i cant imagine how you feel about all this but rest assurred you have the thoughts of everyone on this forum.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2697 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 21:52

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Thank you. Our lives have been torn apart. My dad was my world and it is as hard today as the day I was told.

posted by frankie1979 [4 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 22:03

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in these sort of events there needs to be more advice for the family as the police and cps only relays information that benefits them doing the least amount of work possible. If we was given all the information we would have done things differently

posted by publandlord [1 posts]
2nd April 2014 - 22:14

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