Weeley: Call for killer drivers to face tougher punishments

Ruth Smith was killed in a crash in Weeley

Ruth Smith was killed in a crash in Weeley

KILLER drivers should face tougher punishments, a charity said last night after a man was sentenced over the death of a grandmother.

The call from Brake comes after Christian Vaughan, 23, was handed a six-month sentence for killing Ruth Smith in a crash in Weeley last year.

Vaughan was driving his Vauxhall Vectra at speeds of up to 65mph in a 40mph zone when he hit the 82-year-old in Clacton Road on January 20.

Mrs Smith, who lived in the village and worked as a midwife at Clacton Maternity Hospital from 1966 to 1987, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Vaughan, of The Street, Clacton, was arrested at the scene and later charged with causing death by careless driving.

He pleaded guilty last month and was released on bail prior to his sentencing at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday where the former electrician was jailed for six months and disqualified from driving for three years.

Franki Hackett, campaigns officer at Brake, said: “It is vital that drivers who take deadly risks on roads receive appropriate punishments, in order to deter others from taking these risks.

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“All too often victim families are left saddened and shocked by low sentences and lenient punishments, and this may serve to intensify their feelings of grief for what has happened to them.

“Speeding is a very serious crime which makes crashes more likely and more likely to be serious or fatal.

“We urge the justice system to take these crimes seriously, and hand out appropriately tough punishments, using the full range of sentencing powers, including the maximum where appropriate.”

Speaking after the sentencing, senior investigating officer Inspector Keith Whiting said Vaughan’s life has been changed as a result of the crash.

“We hope this sentence gives him time to reflect on his actions and sends a strong message to every drive who exceeds the speed limit,” he added.

“We’re sure, like many speeding drivers, Christian Vaughan never considered that by driving in this manner he could face a prison sentence for causing the death of another person.”

Insp Whiting said: “Ruth Smith had spent an exemplary life looking after others in her career as a nurse.

“She had been crossing the road in a safe place, having spent the afternoon with friends, having chosen a safe place to cross.

“Ruth’s family have given officers support and understanding throughout the investigation which I am grateful for.”