Disgust over trucker's sentence

AN experienced lorry driver today said the sentence handed to a speeding HGV driver who killed three people is "absolutely disgusting".Martin Combes, of Fountains Road, Ipswich, launched a scathing attack against fellow driver Steven Williams, 35, and the fine of £1,000 and six month driving ban he was given after being convicted of careless driving at Ipswich Crown Court.

AN experienced lorry driver today said the sentence handed to a speeding HGV driver who killed three people is "absolutely disgusting".

Martin Combes, of Fountains Road, Ipswich, launched a scathing attack against fellow driver Steven Williams, 35, and the fine of £1,000 and six month driving ban he was given after being convicted of careless driving at Ipswich Crown Court.

Williams' speeding and lack of concentration resulted in his lorry jack-knifing across the road at Ilketshall St Lawrence, crushing a silver Honda Accord coming in the opposite direction.

Ivan Jeffrey, 60, and his wife Pamela, 65, and her elderly mother Constance Rome, who was in her 80s, were all killed in the crash. They were from Downham Market, Norfolk.

Williams, of Jenkins Green, Lowestoft, was cleared of three counts of causing death by dangerous driving, on the A144 road near Bungay on July 10 last year, despite admitting speeding at the time.

And it emerged that he carried on working after the incident and just weeks afterwards was fined and given three penalty points for speeding in his lorry again – this time on the A12 at Darsham.

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Mr Combes said: "Surely, taking into account the apparent regularity of Mr Williams exceeding the speed limit, the sentence handed to him was absolutely disgusting and far too lenient.

"Professional lorry drivers are done a disservice by people like Mr Williams and far too many members of the public tar us all with the same brush."

The court heard that Williams, a family man with two children, had been driving his articulated lorry at between 50 and 58 miles per hour when he should have been driving at no more than 40 miles per hour.

During his trial, Ian James had said in Williams defence that lorry drivers feel under pressure from other road users. "They (their speeds) are restricted on roads where other road users are not. When he tries to comply, other drivers drive very close to him, overtake him or become very inhospitable."

But Mr Combes said this was no excuse.

"I agree that lorry drivers are put under pressure by other road users driving too close and overtaking at dangerous points in the road, etc. However, this sort of behaviour is experienced by lorry drivers at least once a day and we have to drive accordingly.

"Most of us are well aware of the potential to maim and kill that lorries have, which is why we stick to the speed limits and drive with suitable care and concentration to allow for the regular harassment we receive from other road users for doing so."

N What do you think about Williams' sentence? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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