Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore and family of Ross and Clare Simons - Ross' parents Dawn and Edwin Simons, and his sister Kelly Woodruff - met with Justice Secretary Liz Truss in Parliament on Monday to discuss the current consultation which is seeking the public's views on whether to increase the maximum sentence for dangerous driving to life imprisonment. The current maximum is 14 years in jail.
The group, who had previously met with former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and the former Prime Minister David Cameron, have urged local residents to contribute to the public consultation before the deadline on February 1st 2017.
Ross’ Sister, Kelly Woodruff, said:
"The Justice Secretary was quite horrified – it really hit home. We asked her if something would be done by the close of this year and she said she thought it would be sooner than that. She was very committed and we have the outcome we wanted."
This is the time for change – it is going to happen and this is a chance for people to have their say. A lot of people in a community are affected by death by dangerous driving, such as the people whose house Ross and Clare were killed outside for example.
"This is the time for everyone to look at the consultation and decide what they want to see in any future legislation and to be listened to.”
Chris Skidmore said:
"The thing we principally have campaigned on is for the maximum sentence to go from 14 years to life. The Justice Secretary said she realised that and that they would look into it. There is a consultation going on but it was interesting to hear that there will be some movement. She was shocked by the case and Kelly was able to show her the physical copy of the judge's comments in court. In it the Judge said that he wanted to give a longer sentence but that his hands were tied.
I would urge all of those that have followed our campaign to add their comments to the consultation so that we can deliver life sentences to those that carelessly wreck the lives of innocent people."
The Justice Secretary, Elizabeth Truss MP, said: "Killer drivers ruin lives. Their actions cause immeasurable pain to families, who must endure tragic, unnecessary losses. While impossible to compensate for the death of a loved one, we are determined to make sure the punishment fits the crime.
My message is clear – if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads, you could face a life sentence."
To contribute to the consultation, visit the Ministry of Justice website - https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/driving-offences-causing-death-or-serious-injury/ - or contact the team handling the submissions on 07580701239 or email firstname.lastname@example.org