Dead driver’s car displayed outside Parliament
The parents of a man killed when his car was hit at high speed have put the wreckage on display at Westminster as part of a campaign for tougher sentences by road safety charity Brake.
Joseph Brown-Lartey died as his vehicle was split in half by a car driven by Addil Haroon in Rochdale in 2014.
Haroon, then 18, drove through a red light in a residential area at 80mph and was later jailed for six years.
Mr Brown-Lartey’s father said it was like being “kicked in the teeth twice”.
Mr Brown-Lartey was 25 when he died, and his father Ian said it was “very upsetting” that Haroon would be younger than that when he got out of prison.
“It’s just like we’ve been kicked in the teeth twice. You lose your son and then the legal system that you trusted lets you down too,” he said.
Dawn Brown-Lartey, Joseph’s mother, said there was “no deterrent” to stop people driving dangerously.
“Judges are bound by guidelines and the guidelines need to be changed,” she said.
Hours before the fatal crash, Haroon took a photo on his phone as his speedometer reached 142mph.
He messaged a friend with the words: “Leeds to Rochdale in 11 mins catch me.”
In court, he admitted causing death by dangerous driving, causing death whilst unlicensed, causing death whilst uninsured and dangerous driving.
Brake’s Roads to Justice campaign argues that families are “betrayed time and again by our justice system”, and calls for tougher penalties for drivers who maim or kill.
According to a poll commissioned by the charity, 66% of people believe drivers who kill should be jailed for a minimum of 10 years.
The survey of 1,000 people also found 91% believe drivers who cause a fatal crash after drinking alcohol or taking drugs should be charged with manslaughter, which carries a possible life sentence.
Gary Rae, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Drivers who kill while taking illegal risks are too. Often labelled ‘careless’ in the eyes of the law, and then given insultingly low sentences when their actions can only be described as dangerous and destructive.”