FENLAND DEATH CRASH: March teenager wins reduction in jail term at Court of Appeal
A TEENAGER who lost control of his BMW after taking cannabis - killing a motorcyclist and seriously injuring his passenger - today won a cut in his custodial term and driving ban. Thomas Lord, 19, of Rosewood Close, March, Cambridgeshire, skidded on a ben
A TEENAGER who lost control of his BMW after taking cannabis - killing a motorcyclist and seriously injuring his passenger - today won a cut in his custodial term and driving ban.
Thomas Lord, 19, of Rosewood Close, March, Cambridgeshire, skidded on a bend on the A141, Isle of Ely Way, in July 2007, causing his car to spin through the air, and hitting motorcyclist, Raymond Linnett, on the opposite side of the road.
Dad-of-one Mr Linnett, 43, died at the scene, and his pillion passenger and partner, Danielle Knappet, was left with a catalogue of serious injuries, which still affect her today.
Lord, a plumber, admitted causing death by careless driving, while unfit through drugs, and using a vehicle with insufficient tyre tread, at Peterborough Crown Court.
He was sentenced on February 22 2008 to four years' detention in a young offender's institution and disqualified from driving for three years.
Today, at London's Criminal Appeal Court, his lawyer, Hugh McKee, argued Lord's sentence was 'manifestly excessive' on grounds that the accident was an 'error of judgement that lasted only a few seconds'.
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"This was not intentional, not reckless", said the barrister.
"Lord was not a regular user of cannabis, nor a heavy user."
And he said that although Lord's driving record was short - at just ten months - it was previously a clean one.
Mr Justice Mackay, sitting with Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Mr Justice Goldring, said the road was wet on the evening of the accident, and Lord was driving at around 70mph when he lost control of his car.
He said Lord admitted smoking one joint earlier in the day and several the evening before the crash - but he failed an impairment test at the hospital after his arrest, and cannabis was also found in his blood.
The court heard of the long list of injuries Miss Knappet sustained in the accident, including facial injuries, chipped vertebrae, a broken shoulder, right arm, thigh bone, knee and a punctured lung.
"Her right leg was shortened as a result of the accident and she has to walk with a stick," the judge said.
"She describes her life as changed beyond recognition."
He said that Lord had no previous convictions, adding: "This was a young man from a good family and educational background with good references from many people, including his employers.
"There was genuine remorse on his part and this court has seen a very good report from the young offender's institution."
He said that mitigation meant the correct sentence should have been one of two years and nine months' detention.
The judge also cut Lord's period of disqualification from driving to two years.