Death crash mother takes campaign to TV

THE campaigning mother of a man killed in a hit-and-run accident will appear on television as part of her fight to get tougher sentences for killer drivers.

THE campaigning mother of a man killed in a hit-and-run accident will appear on television as part of her fight to get tougher sentences for killer drivers.

Denise Downing's son Marc, 22, died after being hit by a car while on holiday with friends in Cornwall last summer.

The story made national headlines last week when Hayley Matthews, the driver of the car, was fined £83 for her part in the tragedy.

In the wake of the court case, Mrs Downing launched a petition calling for hit-and-run drivers to be charged with manslaughter and receive much stiffer punishments.

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Now she is set to appear on the BBC One news programme Real Story, presented by Fiona Bruce, on June 28.

The show will highlight her fight for justice, as well as featuring the stories of other families who have lost loved ones in hit-and-run accidents.

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"It's something I feel very strongly about," said Mrs Downing, who comes from Ipswich.

"Real Story are supporting my campaign so I'm supporting them.

"At the end of the day, if I can help somebody else in the same position then I would be pleased that some good can come out of it."

Mrs Downing added that her petition has now gathered 1,000 signatures and has been distributed as far a field as Mansfield and Lowestoft.

A steady stream of shoppers have been pledging their support by signing the document at Mrs Downing's workplace, the Jonathan James shoe shop in the Buttermarket Centre in Ipswich.

She plans to collect all the forms in and send them off to Home Secretary David Blunkett by the end of next week.

"People have been supportive of it because they are outraged by the fine as well," Mrs Downing said.

"Everybody says the same - that it's disgusting to be fined £83 for a life.

"The publicity has helped immensely. The majority of people have read about it in the paper and come in to sign the petition because they think it's terrible.

"I want to thank everybody who has supported the petition - as a nation, everyone needs to support this and get these penalties made much harder.

"Otherwise it will just keep happening. At the moment there is no deterrent for anyone not to do the same.

"There has to be something that will make them think twice."

She added: "It has been unbearable since the court case. It's hard enough trying to come to terms with the situation as it is but then, with no justice, it's just been heartbreaking."

A spokesman for BBC Real Story said they hope to film in Ipswich next week and added: "The show will feature a number of hit and run cases.

"We will be looking at the increasing numbers of hit and run incidents and how the people affected by them feel that there is no kind of justice or compensation for those left behind."

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