[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 11:08 GMT
Six years for drink-drive killer
Domenic Hopkins
Domenic Hopkins had just been accepted by the RAF
A father has criticised the six year sentence for a drunk driver who killed his son when he crashed into the back of his broken down car in Swansea.

Richard Davies, 22, was told he will serve half the term before being released under supervision on licence.

Davies, of Swansea, who was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, was nearly three times over the limit.

Domenic Hopkins, 18, of Port Talbot, died as he tried to fix a wheel problem on his car on Fabian Way, last year.

The sixth former, who was studying maths and history, had just been accepted into the RAF when he parked his Vauxhall Tigra on the inside lane of the dual carriageway of the A483 on 4 March 2006.

Swansea Crown Court heard that he had got out to inspect a rear offside wheel arch, but had told his two passengers, Natalie Gill and Leah Grange, to stand on the verge, where they would be safer.

The Manchester United fan was searching in his boot as Davies approached in his Vauxhall Corsa which appeared to be "snaking" across the road, the jury heard during the trial.

Parents Franga and Alyn Hopkins
He took my son's life and there is no way of bringing him back
Domenic Hopkins' father, Alyn

The Corsa hit the back of the Tigra at between 50-55mph.

After the impact, Davies got out of his car "rubbing his head", and had told a police officer: "I have had about six pints. It is all my fault," the court heard.

Mr Hopkins was pronounced dead a few hours later at Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

Immediately after the majority verdict at Swansea Crown Court in January, Davies admitted a separate charge of drink-driving.

Judge Keith Thomas told Davies, from the Birchgrove area of the city: "It would be unreasonable to categorise you as a dangerous offender.

"I can only conclude that you were either dropping off to sleep or doing something else in your car that caused you to take your eyes off the road."

He said the effect on Mr Hopkins' family had been devastating, and his life could not be restored by any sentence he passed.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies had denied causing death by dangerous driving

The judge told Davies - also given a six-year driving ban - that he was 22 and of previous good character, but the volume of alcohol in his system was almost three times the drink-drive limit and he was guilty of blatantly bad driving.

Following the sentence, Mr Hopkins' father, Alyn, criticised the jail term adding that anyone convicted of causing death should "start at the maximum".

"Six years is what I expected because they are too lenient," he said

"This is not real justice - he took my son's life and there is no way of bringing him back.

"The punishment does not fit the crime - let's hope we can change some of the laws.

"All I can try and do is get the silly little laws changed. He's just been driving for 11 months.

"He should have had an interim ban immediately but the law doesn't allow it.

"As soon as you are involved in a fatality, your licence should be suspended until the court case."

Domenic Hopkins' family reaction to the sentence

Student death drink-driver guilty
25 Jan 07 |  South West Wales

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

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific