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PM calls for "in-depth" review of sentences for causing death by dangerous driving

Families of cyclists killed in two high-profile cases "spoke powerfully" of their loss, says David Cameron...

Prime Minister David Cameron says changes to the sentencing of drivers guilty of causing death by dangerous driving should be considered. After meeting the families of tandem riders Ross and Clare Simons and those of John Morland and Kris Jarvis, the PM has written to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling recommending and "in depth" look at aspects of sentencing in similar cases.

Ross and Clare Simons were killed in 2013 by Nicholas Lovell, a four-times convicted dangerous driver who failed to stop after hitting the couple.

John Morland and Kris Jarvis were killed by Alexander Walter, who was already banned, over twice the alcohol limit, and doing 70mph in a 30mph zone.

After meeting with the families and their MPs, the Prime Minister said the families had spoken "powerfully" about their loss, and that issues such as length of sentences and automatic early release for those guilty of causing death by dangerous driving should be examined.

In the letter, the PM wrote:

Last week I met Alok Sharma MP, Chris Skidmore MP and the families of John Morland, Kris Jarvis, and Ross and Clare Simons, to discuss the changes to the law that they want to see on causing death by dangerous driving.

The families spoke powerfully about the horrific loss that they have suffered and their strong views that the sentencing framework in place had not delivered justice in their cases.

Whilst noting that we are reviewing this issue so could not make specific commitments now, I agreed that the following issues should be considered in depth as part of the review we are carrying out on sentencing for driving related offences:

The maximum sentence length available for causing death by dangerous driving (currently a 14 year sentence);

Whether offenders convicted of causing death by dangerous driving should be denied automatic early release from prison at the half-way point in the sentence;

The question of whether sentences should be awarded concurrently or consecutively in cases where a number of people are killed as a result of dangerous driving, whilst recognising that the courts normally determine this issue;

The discounts provided for late guilty pleas in these types of cases;

The length of the driving ban given to offenders, and the potential for ensuring that no period of their sentence counts towards the driving ban.

Petitions for justice for the riders killed in these crashes have been signed by over 85,000 people.

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 Farelly, 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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