Father's anger at justice system

THE devastated father of a Suffolk teenager killed by her own boyfriend as he raced another car at speeds of up to 120mph has spoken of his anger at the leniency of their sentences.

Elliot Furniss

THE devastated father of a Suffolk teenager killed by her own boyfriend as he raced another car at speeds of up to 120mph has spoken of his anger at the leniency of their sentences.

Malcolm Cutts watched the two young men who caused the collision which killed his daughter Stacey imprisoned for three-and-a-half years at Norwich Crown Court last month and said the justice system was “a joke”.

Stacey, who had been out celebrating her 18th birthday in April last year, was a passenger in a car being driven by her boyfriend Tom Wright, of Bury Road, Wortham, near Diss.


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As they travelled along the A140 Ipswich Road, Wright, 23, began racing at high speeds with Jake Riseborough, 19, of St Mary's Close, Harleston, before he lost control, crashing into trees and fencing.

Wright tried to rescue her from the wrecked car, but she died almost immediately.

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Both drivers pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and were handed the three-and-a-half year sentences on February 22.

Mr Cutts, who lives in Harleston, said his daughter had been killed “needlessly” and he condemned the leniency of the sentences.

He said: “Having experienced our so-called justice system at Norwich Crown Court it just confirmed what I already knew - it's a joke.

“My daughter was needlessly killed in a car crash last year caused by two idiots racing at high speeds.

“The minute they pleaded guilty their sentence was being reduced by up to 30% for that one plea. What time they have left to serve will probably be halved.

“Unfortunately, we, like many other victims' families, don't have the luxury of a reduced sentence. Our sentence is for life.

“To add insult to injury, the five-year driving ban imposed starts the day they go to prison, so a good part of that ban will be used up while they're behind bars and can't drive anyway. Priceless.

“They should have known better really. It's still very fresh in our minds and it is something I think we'll never get over.”

Mr Cutts said it was not just his family's case that showed the justice system for what it was, but many others across the country were feeling let down, too.

He added: “It happens all the time - it's very unjust in many cases.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said sentencing in individual cases was a matter for the courts to consider, based on the facts of the particular case.

He said: “The Government strongly supports the need for stiff penalties for bad driving which causes death. That's why we increased the maximum penalty for serious driving offences, including causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, from 10 to 14 years imprisonment, and have recently introduced the new offences of causing death by careless driving and causing death while driving unlicensed or uninsured, which have maximum penalties of five years and two years, respectively.

“The sentencing framework for all offences is kept under constant review.”

elliot.furniss@eadt.co.uk

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