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Father's fury at appeal reduction

PUBLISHED: 14:18 18 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

A FATHER has hit out after the soldier whose dangerous driving caused the death of his son had his sentence of a three year driving ban reduced on appeal.

A FATHER has hit out after the soldier whose dangerous driving caused the death of his son had his sentence of a three year driving ban reduced on appeal.

Cliff Baker already felt that Ian Hutchinson's original punishment of 160 hours community service and a three-year driving ban was far too lenient.

His 35-year-old son Julian was driving his motorcycle towards Ipswich in May 1999 when he collided head on with Hutchinson's car on the A1071 at Hadleigh.

Mr Baker was pronounced dead at the scene while Hutchinson was seriously injured and had to spend several months in hospital.

At the trial in August 2000, Ipswich Crown Court heard that Hutchinson, 35, who lived at Camulodunum Way, Colchester, at the time but now lives on Poplar Hill, Stowmarket, was overtaking on a blind bend at the time of the accident.

Mr Baker, who runs the White Horse pub in Edwardstone with his wife Penny, expected Hutchinson to be jailed and has been further angered by the decision to reduce his driving ban by a year.

Mr Baker said: "Normally you get jail if you cause death by dangerous driving and to get his sentence reduced even further is totally ridiculous.

"The last few years have been very rough on us. We have lost a son and what has he lost? Absolutely nothing."

Mr Baker felt that the light sentence given to Hutchinson sends out the wrong message to motorists.

He said: "The law needs looking at if you can be convicted and be back on the road within two years.

"Are people going to worry about their driving if you can get away with killing someone? I don't think so."

Yesterday Hutchinson appeared before Judge Nicholas Beddard, who had sentenced him in 2000 to ask him for the three year driving ban to be lifted a year early.

Hutchinson who represented himself told the Court that he was still serving in the Army and had to spend the week living in Army Barracks because it was difficult to make the journey daily by train.

He said his family lived in Stowmarket and if he regained his licence he would be able to drive to and from work each day.

Agreeing to reduce the ban by one year Judge Beddard said that Hutchinson would still have to take an extended driving test before he was allowed back on the road.

He said that tragic as though the circumstances of the accident were Hutchinson's driving on the day in question was a one off "very bad bit of driving for which he had been punished."

He said that Hutchinson did not have a bad driving record before the fatal accident in which he had received serious injuries himself.

Hutchinson, was an accounts clerk with the 1st Battalion Royal Scots at the time of the crash.

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