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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

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."

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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