Mother of Road Death Victim Blasts Appeal

Motorist gets reduced sentence after killing cyclist

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The mother of an Acton charity worker killed by a Brentford motorist who drove through a red light has hit out the short sentence given after an appeal.

The Appeal Court judge decided to reduce the sentence as it was deemed that Kerry Smith was not given sufficient credit for pleading guilty in the original trial nor for her previous good character, her remorse and prompt call to the emergency services. He reduced the original jail term of 21 months to 12 months.

Smith of Church Walk, Brentford hit cyclist Charlotte Morse on the Talgarth Road in Hammersmith in October 2006 after travelling through a set of traffic lights in her Smart car. In an interview with police she claimed that the light was green but witnesses said that the light had been red for about 20 seconds.

Charlotte was pronounced dead at the scene by air ambulance crews. Smith, was an army cadet instructor with no previous convictions and a clean driving license. She was carrying two cadets in her car at the time of the accident. She was jailed for 21 months in November of last year.

Charlotte's mother, Juliet, has criticised Smith's application to the Appeal Court for a reduction in her sentence saying it showed a lack of remorse.

She was quoted in the Evening Standard as saying, "This woman was driving recklessly and my daughter died because of that. If she had been driving at 30mph and paying attention then Charlotte would probably still be alive today. A 21-month jail sentence is a small price to pay for taking my daughter's life. Sentences are far too short for drivers who kill cyclists anyway. Nothing will bring Charlotte back. But the appeal shows she lacks any remorse or understanding of what she has done to us."

February 15, 2008