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wanted to teach Full story: Pages 2& This shockingly lenient sentence is an insult... SPEEDING DRIVER WHO KILLED TAYLOR, 11, COULD BE FREE WITHIN 31/2 YEARS.

Byline: CHRIS SLATER chris.slater@trinitymirror.com @CHRISSLATERMEN

THE family of Taylor Schofield have been 'let down by the legal system' as the driver who killed him was handed a 'shockingly lenient' sentence, campaigners say.

Taylor, 11, was mowed down by a driver doing 55mph in a 20mph zone just yards from his family home in Beswick, east Manchester, as he crossed the road on his bike.

The man who was behind the wheel, 31-year-old Michael Robinson, only briefly stopped at the scene and then 'panicked' and drove off, a court heard.

It has now been revealed he had been banned from the road on three previous occasions before the fatal crash last month.

He was yesterday sentenced to six years and eight months behind bars at Manchester Crown Court.

The current maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years, with Judge Martin Walsh saying his case merited a sentence of 10 years. That sentence was then deducted by a third, thanks to an early guilty plea, to six years and eight months.

He is likely to serve just half of that sentence - which would be three years and four months in prison before being released on licence. Road safety campaigners slammed the sentence.

Samuel Nahk, senior public affairs officer for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "What happened to Taylor Schofield was an absolute tragedy, and this shockingly lenient sentence is an insult to his bereaved family.

"Yet, far too often, grieving relatives are left to feel grossly let down by our legal system. An admission of guilt should not lessen the sentences for those who have caused death by dangerous or careless driving. We need laws that act as a deterrent to other dangerous drivers, and penalties that reflect the suffering caused." Robinson's lawyer argued the case should be rated as a Level Two offence in the Sentencing Council Gudelines for causing death by dangerous driving, saying that, other than his excessive speed, there were no other aggravating factors, such as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs - something the court heard the prosecution 'surprisingly' agreed with.

Judge Martin Walsh disagreed and placed in it Level One, the most serious category of offence constituting a 'prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of very bad driving.'.

Level One has a starting point of eight years and a range of between seven and 14, the maximum sentence. Robinson's initial sentence of 10 years was then cut by a third due to his early guilty plea.

Campaigners want to see that privilege removed, or the sentences start much higher so that they are still considered lengthy and appropriate once the reductions have been applied.

Judge Walsh told Manchester Crown Court: "I want to make the self-evident point that nothing that this court can do will put right the wrong that has been done and it should be understood that the sentence that I am about to impose cannot, and is not intended to, reflect the value of the young life that was tragically lost on that evening."

He was also handed a sevenyear disqualification from the point of his release.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "Killer drivers can ruin lives, which is why we intend to give courts the power to hand down life sentences for death by dangerous driving - sending a clear message to those who drive irresponsibly."

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:Feb 21, 2019
Words:566
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