Mum's call for tougher drink-drive laws

A mother whose son was killed by a drink-driver today called for a total alcohol ban on motorists.

SUFFOLK: A mother whose son was killed by a drink-driver today called for a total alcohol ban on motorists.

Jayne Jones' plea coincided with the emergence of figures showing police caught nearly 2,000 alcohol-fuelled drivers in the county in two years - an average of nearly three a day.

Mrs Jones said her family will never fully recover from the death of her youngest son, Aiden, on May 1, last year.

Last month, Nicholas Kemp, of Eastward Place, Stowmarket, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail after he admitted death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs. The 36-year-old was more than twice the legal alcohol limit when he caused the head-on crash.

Aiden, 20, was killed at Badley Hill, between Needham Market and Stowmarket, when Kemp came round a blind bend on the wrong side of the road and collided with Aiden's Ford Focus.

Nine years earlier Kemp had been involved in another crash in Vigo, Kent, while nearly twice the drink-drive limit. On that occasion he had also driven round a blind bend while on the wrong side of the road.

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A day after Kemp's sentencing, an inquest into a fatal two-car crash heard Matthew Anderson, 24, of Heathland Road, Holbrook, was twice the drink-drive limit when he killed himself and Holbrook Royal Hospital School teacher Sarah Lee, also 24.

The tragedy happened on the outskirts of Stutton on December 5 last year.

Mrs Jones, of Orwell Road, Stowmarket, said: “Drivers should not be able to drink at all. You should not be allowed to drink when you are driving and it should be a longer sentence if you are caught.”

According to Suffolk Constabulary figures, 962 drink-drivers were caught in 2008, while 966 were snared last year.

During the county's Christmas anti-drink drive campaign, seven per cent of motorists breath tested were over the legal limit, compared with three per cent in December 2007.

Mrs Jones' calls for a law change are also echoed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, which said a review of drink-drive laws cannot come too soon.

Throughout the country three per cent of all drivers breath-tested were over the limit, but the percentage rose to seven per cent for drivers involved in an accident.

Last month, the government announced it had commissioned Sir Peter North to conduct an independent review of drink-driving and drug-driving laws.

Provisional figures show that 430 people were killed in drink-drive accidents in Britain in 2008.

Do you think drink-driving laws are tough enough? e-mail or write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

AIDEN Jones' family wrote a powerful statement Ipswich Crown Court to show how a drink-driver's negligence had changed their lives forever.

In the statement, they recalled the moment police officers came to their house to tell them Aiden had died.

His father, Martin, wrote: “The sense of dread was overwhelming. Our hearts were pounding, we felt physically sick, trembling, knowing, but not wanting to hear what they were going to say. Jayne's fears were true.

“Our perfect, healthy child was dead - a moment that broke our hearts forever, and destroyed our lives completely.

“The image of seeing our son, our baby, lying cold and still under a sheet will haunt us to the day we die. The mask of his face, his personality no longer shining through, his smile gone forever, how could anybody be so cruel as to end his life so drastically.

“The anger within all of us that Kemp is still alive is steadily eating away at us.”

The impact statement also had a message for Kemp.

Mr Jones wrote: “You had a choice that night Kemp, not to drive, not to drink. Aiden didn't have a choice to live or die because you took that away from him, you made that choice for him by your own decision to drink and drive.

“Kemp, you are the most selfish, cruellest, inconsiderate, low life that ever walked this planet, and we truly hate you so much for taking Aiden away.

“Our son was only 20 but he knew that it was wrong to drink and drive. Why were you so selfish and what gave you the right to drive that night?

“Time will never heal these wounds; you have scarred us all for life. Our hearts will bleed forever and all because you drank and drove, when you didn't have to, when it wasn't a life or death reason for you doing so, when you had a choice not to drive, but still you took the chance - and look what you did.

“A car is no less a lethal weapon in the hands of a drunk than a gun, knife or iron bar, but yet again luck shines down on you because the law doesn't see causing death by careless driving through drink and drugs as manslaughter, therefore, the sentence will never reflect the crime. The sentence you get, the discounts applied, the actual time you will serve are an insult to Aiden's memory.

“Our lives are permanently filled with pain and guilt. Guilt that we are able to see each day, guilt that we occasionally allow ourselves a night out, but then behind the mask of pretending to enjoy ourselves, our hearts are aching and all we want to do is go home and grieve.”