The Prime Minister is to meet the partners of two men who were killed by a dangerous driver to discuss sentencing next week, following a prolonged campaign for justice.
Tracey Fidler and Hayley Lindsay will meet David Cameron to talk about the work they have done on sentencing since their fiancés John Morland and Kris Jarvis were killed by drink-driver Alexander Walter, who was in a stolen car, just over a year ago.
The collision left seven children fatherless.
A petition the partners created calling for a change in 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”, now has nearly 70,000 signatures.
Walter had 67 previous convictions and was still on a four-year driving ban when he stole his partner’s car.
In April last year he was jailed for 10 years and three months at Reading Crown Court, and as we reported in October, he subsequently lost his appeal to have the sentence shortened, with a judge saying his actions had a "devasting" effect on the victims' families.
Miss Fidler told Get Reading: "It is absolutely fantastic that we have got a private meeting with the Prime Minister, it is pretty overwhelming. We want to thank everyone who has supported our campaign so far, the help we have received has been amazing and I just hope our petition gets to 100,000 signatures.
"Hopefully the Prime Minister will give his support too after the meeting."
Reading West MP Alok Sharma said: "I am very pleased the Prime Minister has agreed to meet Tracey and Hayley, giving them an opportunity to make their case for tougher sentencing for dangerous drivers and to further influence the Government’s policy on dangerous driving.
"The Ministry of Justice is engaged in ongoing discussions with victims as part of its review into driving related offences and I hope it will publish its proposals for any changes to the law as soon as possible. I will continue to work with Tracey and Hayley to ensure their voices are heard at the very top of Government."
Road safety charities have long campaigned for heavier sentencing in motoring crimes, believing that they attract low sentences that do not act as a deterrent.
In 2013 the government confirmed it has ordered a review of sentencing in traffic cases where a cyclist or pedestrian is the victim.
The review of current sentencing guidelines, which is accompanied by a consultation, is being carried out by the Sentencing Council, which is an independent non- departmental public body of the Ministry of Justice, and will cover the offences of causing death by careless driving and causing death or serious injury by dangerous driving. Proposals will be subject to a formal consultation.
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.