Monday, February 16, 2009

Three years' jail for killing family of six

A Portuguese lorry driver was today jailed for three years for causing the deaths of a family of six. David and Michelle Statham and their four children were driving home to North Wales when Paulo Jorge Nogueira da Silva's 40-tonne lorry smashed into their people carrier on the M6 at Sandbach, Cheshire, last October. The couple died instantly at the scene along with sons Reece, 13, Jay, nine, and Mason, 20 months, and 10-week-old baby daughter Ellouise.

Passing sentence, trial judge Mr Justice Irwin jailed da Silva for three years on each count, telling the defendant he would serve 18 months in custody before being allowed out on licence. Da Silva was also disqualified from driving for three years. The jury returned its guilty verdict after just over six hours of deliberation. The jury agreed by a majority of 11 to 1. Mr Justice Irwin continued: "In my view the evidence does not show Mrs Statham crashed first. Even if she did it was overwhelmingly likely such a thing arose because you were bearing down on her from behind and she had nowhere to go.

"I bear in mind the maximum sentence is five years, although six deaths, this was one episode and the prison sentences must be concurrent.

"This was one of the most serious offences of its kind."

...And so another court case about an avoidable road death has come to a close. Looking at similar cases of causing death by dangerous driving my view on this case is that the 3 year sentence is too lenient. I think that Mr Justice Irwin should have imposed the maximum sentence of 5 years in custody and certainly not allow Paulo Jorge Nogueira da Silva out on licence after just 18 months.
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