Mum calls for tougher punishments after speeding motorist is jailed for causing the deaths of two of her family members

A YOUNG mother whose cousin and great uncle were killed by a speeding motorist has launched a petition for harsher penalties to be handed down to drivers who cause fatalities on the roads.

Madison Ruston, of Hunters Way, Saffron Walden, begun the campaign last month after the man responsible for the deaths of two of her family members was given a six-month prison sentence and banned from driving for two years.

She told the Reporter the penalty for killing someone on the road needed to be tougher and that it didn’t seem right for a sentence to be reduced as a “reward” for a defendant pleading guilty.

“If you get into a fight and end up punching someone and they fall, hit their head on the pavement and die because of it, you can be done for manslaughter,” the 24-year-old said.

“It should be exactly the same if you’re in a car. In fact, it should be even more so because you’re in control of the vehicle and you make a conscious decision to speed or drink-drive.”

The Cambridge Regional College student said she and partner Edward Coppins had seen similar campaigns on the news and, once they had enough signatures, they would ask MP Sir Alan Haselhurst if he could help them with their cause.

More than 2,000 people have signed a similar petition after a campaign in our sister title the Wisbech Standard highlighted how 22-year-old Jamie Butcher was mown down and killed by a speeding driver on a pelican crossing.

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Miss Ruston said: “People can get a very harsh sentence if they’ve got into a fight and someone has died – as they should because that person’s life has been taken away.

“But it should be the same if you’re in a car. At the moment the punishment is too lenient. It’s like saying that a person’s life is worth three months if that’s the sentence a motorist is given – it doesn’t seem right,” the mum-of-four explained.

“If you are prepared to take the risk then you should have to pay the consequence, and that is why I’m doing this because I think it needs to be looked at.”

Miss Ruston and Mr Coppins will be asking people to add their signatures to the petition at a stall outside the Cancer Research shop on King Street on November 24.

They have also arranged to do the same on December 7 during the late night shopping event in the town.

A copy of the petition – which has been signed by more than 100 people so far – is also available in the Tourist Information Centre, the museum, Starbucks and Mocha Cafe & Diner.