The family of a cyclist killed by a Sainsbury’s lorry driver has expressed disappointment that the man responsible was released from prison just four months into a 16-month sentence. "What is the point in giving a sentence if you're going to be let out?” said the victim’s brother.
In August 2018, 61-year-old Stephen Gibbons was riding his bike to work on the A322 in Berkshire at when he was struck by a Scania lorry driven by Vincent Cassar.
Cassar initially drove off, claiming he thought he had hit a deer. Shortly afterwards, driving back past the scene, he saw police and pulled over realising something more serious had happened.
He told officers he believed he might have been involved in the collision and ultimately pleaded guilty to causing Gibbons’ death by careless driving.
He was handed a 16-month prison sentence and a three-year driving ban.
Bracknell News reports that the family was told that Cassar would be released in October, eight months into his sentence. However, the Ministry of Justice has since said that he was released in June.
“We expected him to serve half a sentence, but less than half is disappointing,” said Gibbons’ brother, Alan.
“We waited a year and a half to get justice for my brother and if he had held his hands up then I could accept that – but he didn't even plead guilty until the evidence was so stacked up against him.
"Doing this has just wasted taxpayers’ money, police time and there's no justice, it just sticks in my throat and that's what really hurts me.”
Cassar was released after being judged eligible for the Home Detention Curfew scheme.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: "Offenders released on Home Detention Curfew are strictly supervised through the use of electronic monitoring and can be returned to prison for breaching their licence conditions.”
Gibbons’ family have also previously complained that they did not hear from Sainsbury’s until February of this year.
His son, Kyle, called for "meaningful recompense" from the supermarket, saying: "I have strong feelings about Sainsbury's role and culpability in the killing of my dad."