Tragic father marks 3rd anniversary

A FATHER of two girls killed by a drink driver has called for all motorists who get behind the wheel while drunk to face the same punishment - regardless of whether their actions are fatal.

A FATHER of two girls killed by a drink driver has called for all motorists who get behind the wheel while drunk to face the same punishment - regardless of whether their actions are fatal.

Teenagers Claire and Jenny Stoddart died along with close friend Carla Took in a two-car accident on the A12 at Blythburgh, near Southwold, on July 1, 2006.

It will soon be the third anniversary of their tragic deaths and last night their father, Phil, said there needed to be a greater deterrent to stop people driving while under the influence.

Mr Stoddart, from Lowestoft, said: “Just recently the police in our region have begun another campaign to crack down on drink-driving after another set of alarming statistics showing a number of accidents to be alcohol related.


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“However, police resources are limited and only so much can be done. During this latest campaign, many will continue to drink-drive and not be caught. So is there any real way of seeing a dramatic decrease in alcohol-related road offences?

“A sizeable deterrent is necessary to send a strong message out to society that drink-driving is not acceptable.

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“Perhaps we should be looking at sentences that take less into account the outcome of the crime and more the crime itself. If people are going to drink drive, they need to be aware of huge consequences should they be caught, whether they kill anyone or not.”

Claire, 18, Jenny, 15, and Carla, 18, had been celebrating the end of their exams at a rock concert in Ipswich shortly before the tragedy.

The crash also claimed the lives Simon Bonner, 40, and Kim Abbott, 41, both from Yoxford, who were in the car driven by the 22-year-old drink driver.

He was jailed for eight-and-a-half years after admitting causing death by careless driving while unfit due to drink but the sentence was later reduced by two years on appeal.

Mr Stoddart continued: “Surely, the call must be for people to take more responsibility for their actions. As adults, we criticise young people for causing so many accidents, but is it not true that adults can be just as irresponsible? Perhaps it is because adults are more experienced in dealing with their antisocial choices that they do not cause as many accidents.”

He also criticised film and television for portraying high speed chases as heroic and entertaining and called for more subsidised public transport to encourage people to take a bus, taxi or train instead of driving.

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