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."
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.