Family’s campaign for a change in law

Hares Chase - Mr Strong
Hares Chase - Mr Strong

A BARMBY Moor grandfather has met with the justice minister to appeal for a change in the law after his grandson was killed by a drink driver.

Peter Strong’s 16-year-old grandson Jamie Still died in December 2010 when a driver who was more than twice over the alcohol limit hit him after mounting the pavement on a bend.

Jamie Still

Jamie Still

The driver was sentenced to four years in prison, but kept his licence while the case went through the courts - meaning that he was legally allowed to drive for more than seven months after he caused Jamie’s death.

Peter, of Hares Chase in Barmby Moor, has got behind a campaign set up by his granddaughter, Jamie’s 13-year-old sister Rebecca, calling for drink-drivers responsible for causing death to have their licence automatically revoked.

Peter travelled down to Westminster last week with Rebecca and her mother Karen to meet with government justice minister Crispin Blunt after the matter was brought to David Cameron’s attention by Leeds MP Greg Mulholland.

Peter said: “The meeting was very positive, the minister was very supportive.

“He couldn’t give us a time-scale on anything, but he did say that the office of the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) have been looking into this and a report is due out in Autumn.”

Since the launch of the campaign in January this year, over 5,000 people have signed an online petition in support of Jamie’s family and the law change.

Peter has also distributed petitions in shops and pubs in Pocklington town centre and Barmby Moor.

“There has been a lot of support locally, we are extremely pleased with the response,” he said.

“I think we have made an initial impact and obviously the support we are getting is moving things forward.

“Had the driver just been drink driving, his licence would have been revoked straight away, but because of the higher offence, it took longer to get to court.

“I think we would be very disappointed if we couldn’t at least get a change in the bail conditions.”

Peter and his family would also like to see tougher sentences given to drink drivers who kill.

The motorist responsible for Jamie’s death in Otley could be out of prison after two years.

Peter said: “There are a lot of similar stories that people have written about on our online petition, and it makes you realise that you are not alone.

“As a family, we have good days and bad days.

“It isn’t just the immediate impact that something like this has on a family, there were three boys with Jamie on that night and all have been badly affected by what happened to him.

“From our point of view, any change in the law won’t bring Jamie back, but if we can do something as a family to help future people cope, to see a bit of justice for the victims, rather than justice for the perpetrator, that is definitely something worth achieving.”

Peter is responsible for running the campaign website and if anybody would like to add their name to the online petition it can be accessed at www.jamiestillcampaign.co.uk.