Hit and run driver laughed at death

A SUFFOLK man's grieving widow is trying to rebuild her shattered life today after a banned driver killed her husband then laughed about it.Anthony Wilkinson, formerly of Boydlands, Capel St Mary, was mown down by a hit and run driver.

A SUFFOLK man's grieving widow is trying to rebuild her shattered life today after a banned driver killed her husband then laughed about it.

Anthony Wilkinson, formerly of Boydlands, Capel St Mary, was mown down by a hit and run driver. The driver, Mark Webster, had been on an alleged seven-hour drinking binge and was already disqualified from driving.

The 36-year-old was jailed for less than six months for killing the science teacher. The sentence has sparked outrage and provoked calls from an MP for tougher punishments against drivers who kill.

Webster, who has a long criminal record, ploughed into the newly-wed Mr Wilkinson after the alleged drinking session, then drove off leaving his victim dying in the road.

The 35-year-old's parents Jane and George, moved to their present home in Matlock, Derbyshire, from Capel St Mary after their sons David and Anthony left home.

During Webster's trial prosecutor Joanne Golding said: "He drove off and had a laugh about it with his friends. It was callous and cold-hearted."

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Webster, from 16th Avenue, north Hull, was jailed at Hull Magistrates' Court for a total of 11-and-a-half months.

He was also banned from driving for 10 years.

Mrs Golding said the unemployed father had been drinking with friends before getting in his transit van, on April 4, and driving down Beverley Road, Hull, where Mr Wilkinson was walking home from a night out with friends.

As the Beverley teacher stepped off a kerb, Webster's van hit him, throwing his body into a nearby bus shelter.

Mrs Golding said Webster drove off and left his van at a friend's house, but his three passengers reported him to police the next day. Webster was arrested 16 hours later but no alcohol was found in his system.

He pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, careless driving, failing to stop, failing to report an accident and driving with no insurance. For these offences he was given five-and-a-half months' jail.

In December 2002, he was jailed for 21 months after being convicted of dangerous driving. He was released six months early on licence but, having re-offended, must now serve those six months.

Mr Wilkinson, from The Paddock, Cottingham, taught at Longcroft School and Performing Arts College, Beverley and had been married to his wife Helen for just five months.

After the case ended Webster's wife Melanie apologised for his actions to Mrs Wilkinson.

She said: "Mark's family were not with him at the time.

"We do not condone what he did and would like to offer Mr Wilkinson's wife our deepest sympathy."

Hull North MP Kevin McNamara is now pressing roads minister David Jamieson for a change in the law to allow courts to impose tougher sentences on killer drivers.

Mr McNamara said of Webster's case: "It makes the law look an ass."

He added he would be writing to Mr Jamieson to ask for a new specific manslaughter charge to be brought in for such cases as Webster's.

N Has your life been changed due to the actions of a illegal driver? What do you think of Webster's sentence? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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