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

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.

38 comments

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 2 years ago
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Eight years doesn't sound long given the nature of the offence and a lifetime driving ban would be appropriate. My sympathies are with the victim's family.

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pwake [388 posts] 2 years ago
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The custodial sentence is (like it or not) about what you'd get for taking someone else's life in any manner, but why not a life ban?!!

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tarquin_foxglove [137 posts] 2 years ago
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Wow.

aggravating factors:
-3x over the limit
- wrong side of the road
- failed to stop

mitigating factor:
- early guilty plea

"the likely range is 7-12 years"

Actual sentence 8 years.

So 1/3 reduction for pleading guilty & no doubt will receive a further 1/3 reduction for 'good behaviour'.

Crazy crazy system.

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Simmo72 [609 posts] 2 years ago
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8 years sucks, it should be life. he drove off and left a man to die. scum.

don't tell me the 8 years of the 10 year ban will be served whilst in jail, that would just be sick......though chances are he'll be out in a lot less.

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pz1800 [24 posts] 2 years ago
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Anyone who causes death by their driving should never drive again. And in this case, the prison term should have been 12 years.

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oldstrath [643 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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proliteguy [11 posts] 2 years ago
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So if kill some one with a gun and sober I get 25 years but being pissed up driving a lethal weapon only 8 years. Glad I now live in a country where we still have capital punishment

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MKultra [396 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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oldstrath [643 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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MKultra [396 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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jacknorell [971 posts] 2 years ago
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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!?

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anarchy [100 posts] 2 years ago
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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

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seven [154 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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MKultra [396 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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Guy Collier [25 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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Guy Collier [25 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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bobinski [237 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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levermonkey [669 posts] 2 years ago
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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!

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Stumps [3356 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1240 posts] 2 years ago
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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?

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picko [69 posts] 2 years ago
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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......

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Critchio [183 posts] 2 years ago
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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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This goes way beyond "dangerous driving".

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seven [154 posts] 2 years ago
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Critchio wrote:

This guy is a scumbag;
http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/10919023.Attacked_man_loses_eye/

What a nice sounding chap.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1240 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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Initialised [308 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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Denzilwood [27 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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felixcat [478 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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a_to_the_j [118 posts] 2 years ago
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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.

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