Fury at death crash driver's licence bid

ANGRY relatives who lost three family members in a road crash last night condemned the lorry driver responsible for trying to win his licence back early.

By James Mortlock

ANGRY relatives who lost three family members in a road crash last night condemned the lorry driver responsible for trying to win his licence back early.

Angela Jenkins, whose mother, brother and niece died in the tragedy, said Stuart Gay should be "grateful he is alive" instead of trying to have his punishment cut and get back behind the wheel of a truck.

Gay, 30, was driving a seven-and-a-half tonne lorry when it ploughed into a Rover car parked in a layby on the A11 near Newmarket, killing a total of four people.

Among the dead were Suffolk pensioner Alice Jenkins, her teenage grand-daughter Becky and the youngster's 15-year-old friend, Irene Sanchez.

This week, Gay – who was jailed for two years and banned from the road for three when he pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of Albert Jenkins, 56, his daughter Becky, Mrs Jenkins, 82, of Nowton Road, Bury St Edmunds, and family friend Irene by dangerous driving – appeared at Cambridge Crown Court to ask for his licence back six months early.

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The application was rejected by Judge Jonathan Haworth – a decision welcomed by surviving family members.

Angela Jenkins, Mr Jenkins' sister, said: "If I were him I would take it on the chin and be grateful he is not dead. He's lucky he has a life to get on with."

Ms Jenkins said her sister-in-law, Madrid-born Consuelo San Ruperto, the only survivor from the Rover, had lost her entire family and was still struggling to rebuild her life: "She still cries herself to sleep every night.

"She, like me, has not been able to work – our lives were totally turned upside down but the driver is still alive.

"We have tried to put him out of our minds. I think the judge was right. We're still suffering a lot more than he has ever suffered."

The crash at Six Mile Bottom was caused, it was claimed, after Gay, formerly of Antonia Close, Haverhill, fell asleep at the wheel of his truck.

Mr Jenkins, his wife and daughter had travelled from their home in Spain with Becky's friend Irene to attend his Angela's wedding, which was due to take place just five days after the crash.

They had just collected Alice Jenkins from her Bury home ahead of the wedding when the accident happened. Albert was due to have given his sister away and Becky was to have been a bridesmaid.

Gay, who was freed after 10 months in prison and was tagged for a further two, this week told the court he needed the ban, which runs out in September, to be lifted for him to get work.

He said he had applied for several jobs since his release but had not been successful because he was not able to drive. He was now running a house of his own and needed to pay the bills, he added.

Sally Hobson, for the Crown, objected to the application on the grounds that the sentence Gay received for the August 1999 accident was not excessive.

Judge Haworth turned down Gay's application, commenting: "The ban was intended not simply to keep the defendant off the road, but as a punishment.

"I have heard nothing from him today that justifies him having his licence back."

Gay, who must take an extended re-test before he is allowed back on the road alone again, left the court in tears.

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