A petition launched by two women whose partners were killed by one drunk driver in Purley on Thames this year has reached almost 17,000 signatures, a result the families have called ‘overwhelming’.
Seven children were left fatherless when John Morland and Kris Jarvis died after being hit by a BMW driven by Alexander Walters.
The e-Petition, calling for law-makers to increase the sentencing in dangerous driving cases, is now clocking up 150 signatures every hour.
Hayley Lindsay said: “We are doing it for Kris and John, but it is also for people in the future. I think John and Kris would be overwhelmed by the response we are getting.”
Mother-of-two Hayley told the Reading Chronicle: “We are doing it for Kris and John, but it is also for people in the future. I think John and Kris would be overwhelmed by the response we are getting.”
The families recently met at a memorial event to mark six months since the fatal collision. Around 50 friends and family returned to Purley Rise to lay flowers and release balloons for Kris and John.
Tracey Fidler said: “The whole day was very emotional. We knew it was going to be hard. But it was more emotional than I expected.
“I spent the whole day crying.” Hayley added: “Every day is hard but significant days like birthdays and that day are harder. But we were standing there, looking at where they landed, and everything rewound back in your head.”
Walters, who had over twice the blood alcohol limit and had used cocaine within the last 24 hours when he hit and killed the cyclists, was sentenced to 10 years and three months for dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking, after pleading guilty to a total of seven offences at Reading Crown Court on April 16.
The court heard he had 67 previous convictions.
“They classed John and Kris as one person – he (Walters) got ten years three months for (both) the deaths of Kris and John,” Tracey Fidler told Newbury Today.
“We want the sentence to be applicable to both men – which would double the sentence to 20 years and six months,” she said.
“The guy that did it only got a little sentence – and we got a life sentence.”
The petition has over 18,000 signatures. To sign, click here.
The petition is worded:
On Thursday 13th February 2014, friends Kris Jarvis and John Morland had been out cycling and where returning home via Purley and were struck by a speeding car, both men were killed.
Kris and his fiancée, Tracey, have 5 children and John and his fiancée, Hayley, have 2 children.
The driver of the car pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, driving while uninsured and disqualified and aggravated vehicle taking, the driver of the speeding car received 10 years and three months sentence.
Alexander Walter was 2 ½ times over the legal drink limit and had taken drugs 24 hours before and had 67 previous convictions.
Dangerous driving can have devastating consequences. Tracey and Hayley would like to see the Government change the law, so if a driver receives a sentence for causing death by dangerous driving, the driver receives the maximum sentence, of 14 years, per person that has been killed.
In April we reported Walter’s sentencing. Judge John Reddihough told Walter that "two completely innocent young men and with families" were killed as a result of his "thoughtless, selfish and dangerous actions".
He said the evidence against Walter was "overwhelming" adding: "Seven children are left without a father and two women have been left without partners. Of course there is also the effect on the other members of their family."
The court heard that Walter had appeared in court 14 times over 67 offences including obtaining property by deception, dishonesty, false representation, and making a bomb hoax. In 2010 he was handed a four-year ban and should not have been driving again until December this year.
The victims worked for Reading Borough Council and were keen riders. Kris Jarvis had five children and was planning to wed fiancée Tracey Fidler next year. John Morland had two children and had set a date for his marriage to fiancée Hayley Lindsay in May 2016.
Prosecutor Alan Blake noted said the grieving relatives had made "devastating" victim statements.
He said: "It includes Amanda Morland (Mr Morland's sister) saying that part of her died with John on that day and they (the family) will never be the same again.
"There were similar expressions by the partner of Kris Jarvis (Tracey Fidler) who describes how difficult it is dealing with the loneliness she suffers, having never previously spent the night apart."
James House, defending, said Walter had written a letter to bereaved families.
Mr House said Walter "offers his heartfelt apologies" knowing that it would never make up for what he had done but he had admitted his guilt.
Walter was also banned for driving for 15 years and will have to pass an extended test.
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.