Grieving mum wants life sentences for killer drivers

Phillipa Campbell's mum Sue and brother Lee at her grave
Phillipa Campbell's mum Sue and brother Lee at her grave

The mother of a Wigan teenager killed in a car smash which saw the speeding culprit only serve 36 months today backed proposals to jail killer drivers for life.

Sue Campbell and her family were devastated when 19-year-old Phillipa was killed after a male friend drove her sports car at speeds of 80mph before crashing it.

Phillipa Campbell who was killed at the age of 19

Phillipa Campbell who was killed at the age of 19

The culprit was sentenced to five and a half years for causing her death by dangerous driving - but only ended up serving less than half.

Sue, 56, says the tragedy of losing her beautiful daughter has left the family hearbroken and her husband Robert on anti-depressants, feeling guilt at buying his daughter the sports car - even though she wasn’t driving it when it crashed.

The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation to seek views on whether the current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased.

Proposals include increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving and for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life.

Sue today backed the proposals made by our Drive For Justice campaign. She said: “We lost our beautiful daughter and all the culprit who caused her death got was two and a half years. This is not justice.

“Two-and-a-half years - is that all my daughter was worth? How is that justice?

“I think it is disgusting and we feel like we were robbed of our daughter while the person who caused her death received a far too low sentence.

“We were hoping they would give him the maximum sentence but the actual time he served was pitiful.

“Sentencing is far too lenient for those who kill on the roads and I believe anything under 10 years is pathetic. It is just the same to me as if you got a knife and stabbed someone with it.

The horrific tragedy happened in August 2009 and Philippa was celebrating getting a place on a criminology and sociology course at Edge Hill University.

Phillipa, who also worked part time at her local Tesco store where her mum works, had been to a club before the crash and Sue says the family still can’t understand why Phillipa allowed him to drive her car.

Sue explained: “It is one of those mysteries we will never know the answer to. We cannot understand why Phillipa wasn’t driving the car herself and why she let him drive. He was the ex-boyfriend of one of her friends.

“When they were coming out of the club, one of the doormen saw them arguing over who was going to drive and snatching the car keys from each other.

“But the end result was that he was the one driving the car and he was driving 80mph in a 40 zone and he lost control of the car.

“He survived the crash, but our daughter didn’t.”

Sue says Phillipa was a lovely girl full of ambition and was training to be a paramedic as she wanted to help people.

The former Hawkley Hall High School pupil was an excellent swimmer and a former Manchester United Ladies player.

Sue, who also has a son Lee, 31, reveals losing Phillipa has hit all the family hard, particularly her husband Robert who blames himself for buying Philippa the sports car.

She says: “Even after seven years, it is not any easier and we live with Philippa’s loss every day.

“There was only four years between Philippa and her brother and they were very close so her death absolutely destroyed him. He has a little boy now who should have an aunt.

“We have all been heartbroken by Phillipa’s death and my husband Robert is in a particularly bad way.

“He was a car salesman but he has never gone back to work since Philippa’s death and he is on a lot of anti-depressants.

“He is just a completely different person and has no get up and go any more.”

Sue believes sentencing for those who cause deaths on the road is far too lenient and would like to see the proposals for life sentences come to fruition.

She says: “There needs to be much longer sentences for those who cause deaths on the road. Even though people say it is not a premeditated death, as soon as you get behind the wheel, you are the one in charge and if you have been drinking or are driving recklessly, you are the one responsible. I would urge everyone to get behind the Drive For Justice Campaign and keep fighting for tougher sentences.

“People also need to be warned not to let anyone else drive their car or get into a car with someone who they know has been drinking. I also feel maybe the legal age for driving should be raised to 21.

“Young people often wrongly believe they are invincible.”

Sign the Drive For Justice petition here:- www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-deliver-stiffer-punishments-for-drivers-who-kill-or-seriously-injure-on-uk-roads