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Road still as dangerous as ever, say parents, as speeding driver jailed for causing death of girl, 7.

Byline: By Robin Turner Western Mail

A driver who knocked down a seven-year-old girl has been convicted of causing her death by dangerous driving. Stephen Lewis, 38, of Penlan, Swansea, was jailed for three years by Judge Keith Thomas at Swansea Crown Court yesterday afternoon.

Victoria Clement died from head injuries after being hit by Lewis's Vauxhall Astra in Manselton Road, Manselton, Swansea.

As well as being jailed yesterday he was banned from driving for five years and ordered to take an extended test before having his licence returned.

Lewis had pleaded not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving but was convicted by a jury.

He claimed at the time of the accident he was driving within or just above the 30mph limit for Manselton Road.

But a police expert said a brake mark at the scene showed he had been driving at 44mph at least.

Judge Thomas said even 30mph was too high a limit for Manselton Road.

But if Lewis had been going at that speed the consequences 'could have been less catastrophic'.

He added, 'Human life cannot be measured, nor can its loss be measured, in the length of a prison sentence.'

The court heard how Victoria ran out from behind parked cars into the path of Lewis's vehicle on September 27, 2005.

After the sentencing yesterday, Victoria's parents Paul, 33, and Lynda, 34, said they were satisfied with the court process but not with what they claimed was lack of action in introducing traffic calming to Manselton Road.

Mr Clement said residents had been campaigning for the year which had passed since Victoria's death for traffic calming measures on the road.

He said, 'They just do not care. We have had no response whatsoever. They will not meet us or talk to us.

'A child died in exactly the same circumstances some years ago. Now Victoria has died. How many lives will it take for some action?'

Mr Clement said even Judge Thomas had commented that 30mph was not a safe speed limit for that particular, narrow road, where cars are parked on both sides and traffic is heavy.

The area was heavily residential and children regularly played in the street.

Lewis had told the court Victoria was just 10ft in front of him when he first spotted her.

He said, 'I hit the brakes and we just collided. I could do absolutely nothing.

'I have never had to hit the brakes so hard and so fast in my life.

'I wish it had never happened. If only I could turn back time.'
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 14, 2006
Words:428
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