Parents attack death crash driver's sentence

THE parents of a teenage cyclist who was killed by a speeding driver have said that 'justice has not been done' after the motorist avoided a jail term.

James Hore

THE parents of a teenage cyclist who was killed by a speeding driver have said that 'justice has not been done' after the motorist avoided a jail term.

Muhammad Riaz, 28, was doing more than 40mph in a 30mph limit when he collided with Daniel Andrew in Greenstead Road, Colchester.

The 16-year-old, who had just finished his final day at Sir Charles Lucas School, was declared dead at the scene following the accident on June 13.

At Colchester Magistrates' Court yesterday, Riaz, of Mersea Road, Colchester, was banned from driving for a year, fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £60 and a victim surcharge of £15 to go to the family

Daniel's parents yesterday told how they had spent the last five months living in “sheer hell” following the death of their son.

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Mark Andrew and Mandy Stewart said they had not realised just what a big influence their young son had on so many people's lives.

A tribute website created in his memory has had more than 20,000 hits and complete strangers have come up to them in the street to talk about the impact the accident has had on them.

Speaking after the court case, Daniel's parents said they knew not even a sentence of 10 years could have brought their son back.

Mr Andrew said: “There is a sense of relief that the case is done now and we can sort of move on now to an extent.

“There was a sense of disbelief when it happened and the reality has not kicked in yet and I don't suppose it will for some time.”

The pair have both been signed off work since the accident as they struggle to cope with the impact on their lives.

Mr Andrew praised Essex Police for the support they had given the family, but said he felt “let down” by the legal system, knowing Riaz will be back on the roads in a year's time.

He said: “The sentence was the most that Mr Cooper (District Judge Cooper) could give under the circumstances - the law dictates that, but we still feel justice has not been done. We have lost our son at somebody else's hand.

“A year's disqualification and a £500 fine just does not seem enough but, whatever the sentence, 10 years in prison, nothing would change the fact that we will never get Daniel back.”

Mr Andrew and Mrs Stewart, a sales consultant, appealed for all drivers to think about how fast they drive, saying they were the living proof of the devastation it can cause.

“His friends are still in shock. They can't get their heads round it, especially the two guys that were there at the time.

“It does cause devastation. The accident may well have happened at 30mph but the outcome could have been totally different.

The pair have been campaigning for safety improvements in the area, including rails at the bottom of the steps to prevent people from rushing out onto Greenstead Road and for rumble strips to slow cars.

They are also hoping that the speed limit can be cut to 20mph and their campaigning has the support of Colchester's MP Bob Russell.

Since Daniel's death Mr Andrew and Mrs Stewart have been touched by the sheer volume of tributes and they now plan to hold a soccer tournament in his memory next year.

The teenager was a passionate Colchester Utd supporter and was a season-ticket holder.

Speaking about their son they said he loved sport and had been a very popular pupil at Sir Charles Lucas School.

“He advised people, he was like an older brother to so many and he cared so much for so many people.

“He loved life, he was full of life - he really was. So many people have been affected by this,” they said.

Mr Andrew, a lecturer at Colchester Institute, added: “I put in my personal statement that it affected the whole community and it really has.

“So many people come to speak to us that we don't know, that Daniel did not know.

“We have messages from miles away, from far and wide.”

Andrew also leaves behind a younger brother, Liam, nine.