I want justice for my son's death

EXCLUSIVEBy Mark HeathTHE devastated mother of a man killed in a hit-and-run accident said last night she fears she will never get justice for her son.


By Mark Heath

THE devastated mother of a man killed in a hit-and-run accident said last night she fears she will never get justice for her son.

Denise Downing was speaking after she came face-to-face for the first time with the woman who has admitted being the driver of the car involved in the fatal collision with her son.

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Hayley Matthews was behind the wheel of a black Ford Escort when it collided with Mr Downing as he walked with friends while on holiday near Newquay in Cornwall last year.

Mr Downing, a former pupil at Westbourne School in Ipswich, suffered multiple injuries in the accident on August 30 and died later in the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

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An inquest into the 22-year-old's death was held in Truro yesterday and it heard for the first time Ms Matthews give her account of the collision.

The 24-year-old, from Redruth, said: "I panicked and sped off because I had no MoT and no insurance and was worried about my little boy.

"I thought 'Oh my god, I have just hit someone, I'm driving illegally – I'm going to be in a lot of trouble'.

"The car really didn't stop. I started to brake and I hit the person and sped off. I panicked."

Ms Matthews abandoned the car three miles from the scene of the crash before handing herself in to police later that day.

She will appear in court on June 2, but will only face a number of minor motoring charges.

Speaking last night, Mrs Downing, who has moved from Ipswich to Colchester since the crash, said: "I was very angry and upset at seeing her for the first time.

"She has admitted hitting Marc, but she is not being charged with his death. It is so annoying. I feel like the police are saying that Marc's life is worthless. I don't think we will ever get justice for him."

Truro coroner Dr Edward Carlyon recorded an open verdict into Mr Downing's death, saying there was no conclusive evidence about how the accident happened.

"It wasn't the verdict we wanted," said Mrs Downing, who has two other sons. "It is incredibly frustrating for all of us. I believe the law in this country has got to be changed.

"It feels as though people aren't taking our feelings into account. You've got someone admitting they killed my son – and they're still going to get away with it."

Mrs Downing said she now plans to appeal to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about the lack of serious charges filed against Ms Matthews.

"I just feel so let down. We now have the option of going to the CPS and questioning their decision – and that's what we're going to do. This has just devastated my family. We will never, ever get over it," she added.

Devon and Cornwall Police and the Crown Prosecution Service said there was not enough evidence to bring more serious charges against Ms Matthews.


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