BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Call for tougher death driver laws
Rebecca Sawyer
The man who caused Rebecca's death had 89 previous convictions

An MP from the north-east of England has said tougher sentences for killer drivers must be introduced "urgently".

Wansbeck Labour MP Denis Murphy told fellow MPs there should be new laws to "lock away" drivers who "maim and kill".

His plea follows the New Year's Eve death of six-year-old Rebecca Sawyer, killed when her family's car was hit by a banned driver at the wheel of a stolen car.

Ian Carr, 27, from Ashington, was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in prison after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

Carr had 89 previous convictions and was already banned from driving for life.

Mr Murphy said: "We need to send out a clear message that society will not tolerate people who use a motor vehicle to maim or kill.

It is my opinion that people like Carr will continue to pose a threat to the public
Wansbeck MP Denis Murphy

"Carr ... should be locked away for the rest of his natural life, or at least until he and people like him no longer pose a threat to society.

"It is essential that we change the law to ensure no more families suffer the same fate as the Sawyer family."

Repeating the views of Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Bob Pattison, Mr Murphy called for the Government to introduce a new offence of aggravated death by dangerous driving punishable with a life sentence.

'Terrible crime'

He said "aggravating" factors would include driving whilst already disqualified, failing to stop for police, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, having no insurance, driving a stolen vehicle.

He added: "It is my opinion that people like Carr will continue to pose a threat to the public.

"A life sentence would reflect the terrible nature of the crime and also ensure that they would be monitored after release for the rest of their lives."

Mr Murphy urged Parliament to consider other recommendations, including raising the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving without any aggravating features to 14 years from the present 10.

He also called for a big increase in the maximum sentence, where serious injuries are caused, from the present two years.

Officer calls for change in law
25 Feb 03  |  England
Killer driver's 89 convictions
10 Jan 03  |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific