Justice at last for Ross & Clare
A family’s campaign to change the laws on dangerous driving has achieved success with the passing of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.
The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving in the UK has now increased from 14 years to life imprisonment.
The new law, which was passed on April 28, follows nearly ten years of campaigning by relatives of Ross and Clare Simons, who were killed in Hanham in January 2013.
The recently married couple, from Hillfields, were riding their new tandem bicycle in Lower Hanham Road when they were hit by a speeding car driven by unqualified driver Michael Lovell.
They died almost immediately, while Lovell fled the scene.
Lovell, who had 69 previous convictions, was jailed for the maximum term available at the time, 14 years. He served five and was released in 2018.
The family launched the Justice 4 Ross and Clare campaign, urging tougher sentences, and have been backed throughout by Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore. A 2014 petition calling for strengthened laws on dangerous driving gathered 15,000 signatures and Mr Skidmore scheduled a Commons debate on the subject. He also raised the issue with the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, who met Ross and Clare’s family in 2015.
Kelly Woodruff, Ross Simons’s sister, said: “Myself and all of my family are delighted to bring a very long nine year campaign into its final stages. After losing Ross and Clare in 2013 we have always felt we needed to achieve something positive out of an awful situation.
“Changing the death by dangerous driving law from fourteen years to life means the world to us, knowing we will be helping future victims and their families.
“We’d like to thank Chris Skidmore and his team for all their help and dedication over the years on this campaign, without them this wouldn’t have been possible.”
Mr Skidmore said: “I am delighted that the change which Ross and Clare’s family and myself have campaigned for during the past nine years has now become law.
“For far too long, drivers who killed either through reckless or careless driving have not faced sentences which reflect the terrible damage and harm that they cause to families and local communities.
“Ross and Clare’s family should be immensely proud of what they have achieved and the positive change that has come from their tireless campaigning.”