New anger over sentence

A DRIVER tragically caught up in a fatal A14 crash which killed an Ipswich teenager has been fined more than the unlicensed repeat offender whose car caused the accident, infuriating the victim's family.

A DRIVER tragically caught up in a fatal A14 crash which killed an Ipswich teenager has been fined more than the unlicensed repeat offender whose car caused the accident, infuriating the victim's family.

Sarah Gaecke's mother railed against the justice system when unlicensed and uninsured Samuel Clements, 19, of Wellington Street, Ipswich, was fined £25 for driving without a full licence.

In total he was made to pay £345 for three offences, including the defective tyre which caused his car to lose control, court costs and a victim surcharge.

Yet Peter Brooks, a Londoner who was driving a car travelling toward Ipswich behind Clements' unroadworthy Renault 19, has now been fined £350 for a single offence of having an under-inflated tyre.

While Clements was made to pay £345, Brooks faces a total bill of £410, even though it was Clements' car which caused the crash on December 21 last year.

Today Vici Gaecke, of Nacton Road, said the justice system was “a complete shambles” and revealed that she felt sorry for Brooks, who she said had no blame in the accident.

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“To find out he has received a harsher punishment than Clements who didn't have a licence and didn't have insurance - I'm speechless,” she said.

“Clements got less than someone with an under-inflated tyre, where's the justice in that? That's insane.

“The guy (Brooks) was travelling along doing something we all do any day of the week and he came upon this terrible situation. No doubt it has changed his life. My heart goes out to him.

“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I feel no antagonism to him.”

Ms Gaecke accused the courts of sending out the wrong message to teenagers who get behind the wheel without a licence.

“I know what happened to Sarah was an accident but it was an accident that could have been avoided. Clements put her in that situation,” she said.

“You always believe the courts are there to support you and help you and to do the right thing. This is laughable. It is a joke.”

What do you think of this sentence? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

SAMUEL Clements lost control of his Renault while driving on the A14 at Nacton with two passengers, one of whom was Sarah Gaecke.

An inquest into Sarah's death heard that the Holywells High schoolgirl had survived the crash and it is believed that she had either been clambering from the wreckage or already made it to her feet when there was a second collision with a Volkswagen Polo.

Peter Brooks was driving the Polo, which was unable to swerve clear of the Renault which had come to rest on its roof in the carriageway, causing the collision in which Sarah was killed.

At South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Thursday, Brooks, 56, of Gatestone Road, Upper Norwood near Crystal Palace, pleaded guilty via post to using a motor vehicle with an incorrectly inflated tyre. The court heard the tyre was not fit for use.

Cynthia Glinos, chairman of the bench, ordered him to pay a fine of £350, costs of £45 and a victim surcharge cost of £15. His licence was also endorsed with three points.

Last month, coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest into Sarah's death after Pc Michael Small, a serious collision investigator with Suffolk police's roads policing unit, said tests had shown it was most likely the badly defective tyre on Clements' car which caused him to lose control.

Pc Small added: “It most probably is the second impact with the Volkswagen that caused her death.”

Following last month's sentencing of Clements, who only has a provisional licence and was also caught driving without a licence and no insurance in March last year, Vici Gaecke, claimed he got off with a “slap on the wrist” and said the law had failed her family.

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