A drunk driver who killed two cyclists in February this year while speeding in a stolen car, leaving seven children fatherless, has lost his appeal to have the 10 year three month prison sentence handed down to him in April shortened, with a judge saying his actions had a "devasting" effect on the victims' families.
John Morland, aged 30, and 39-year-old Kris Jarvis, were killed on the evening of 13 February when they were hit by a black BMW car in Purley-on-Thames, Berkshire. It was being driven by Alexander Walter, who had taken the vehicle, which belonged to his partner, without her permission.
At Reading Crown Court in April, Walter pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and other offences including aggravated vehicle-taking, driving while disqualified, and driving while uninsured.
Sitting today at the Criminal Appeal Court in London, Mr Justice Globe noted that Walter was driving at speed while trying to evade police, had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream, and had taken cocaine during the 24 hours prior to the collision, reports Get Reading.
The judge said: “The BMW remained out of control as it went round the bend.
“He killed two people and had previous convictions for motoring offences.
“He took his partner’s car without consent and failed to stop when requested to do so by the police.
“He drove over the limit at a grossly excessive speed and lost control of the car, killing two cyclists cycling on the footpath.”
Walter’s lawyers claimed that the sentence did not take sufficient account of his guilty plea, but the judge observed that the prosecution had made an “overwhelming” case, and described the effect of his actions as “devastating.”
He added that personal statements from the families of Mr Morland and Mr Jarvis “highlight the disastrous consequences of Walter’s actions.”
Mr Jarvis’s fiancée, Tracey Fidler, attended the hearing and said: "I'm glad he didn't get what he wanted.
"It was very emotional. I had to leave the court at one stage because I was a bit of a mess.
"I've been there from the start and I just had to go but that should be the end of it now, thank god," she added.
Together with Mr Morland’s fiancée, Hayley Lindsay, Ms Fidler has launched a petition urging the government to change the law so that for example where someone is convicted of causing death by dangerous driving following an incident in which more than one person is killed, separate sentences apply for each life lost. Currently, nearly 23,000 people have signed it.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.