Family and friends of Peterborough parkway victims back new government petition for tougher drink-drive sentences
The family and friends of three people killed on a Peterborough parkway have started a government e-petition calling on tougher sentences for drink driving.
Engaged Peterborough couple Marko Makula (22) and Jana Kockova (21), and Jana’s younger brother Tomas Kocko (19), all died after being hit head-on by Tommy Whitmore who was driving the wrong way on the Frank Perkins Parkway.
The devastating crash left Marko and Jana’s two very young children without parents.
Whitmore was twice the drink drive limit and had also been taking cannabis when he went behind the wheel in April. He was later jailed for eight years and four months, a sentence which the victims’ family described as “devastating”.
The Attorney General is currently reviewing the case after complaints were made that the sentence was too lenient.
Following the sentencing, the Peterborough Telegraph launched a campaign to allow judges to impose more serious sentences, including life terms, for drivers who kill while intoxicated through drink or drugs, as currently the maximum sentence a driver can receive is 14 years.
The campaign has received widespread support, including from the families of victims killed by intoxicated drivers and a retired judge.
Now, the family and friends of Marko, Jana and Tomas have backed a government petition which calls for higher minimum and maximum prison sentences for drink driving.
The petition started by Lukas Koncek, has already received more than 350 signatures a day after being set up.
It states: “Jana Kockova, 21, Marko Makula, 22, and Tomas Kocko, 19, from Peterborough all suffered fatal injuries after their car was involved in a head-on collision with a drink driver. Jana and Marko leave behind two-year-old Nela, and Rachael, one.
“The government should re-consider the current laws and instate a higher minimum and maximum prison sentence for people convicted of death by careless driving when under the influence of drink .
“Currently the maximum term is 14 years. The driver in this case only received 8 years imprisonment, and with good behaviour will be out in less than 4 years. Let’s make it tougher for offenders.
“Let’s make a change now before any more young and innocent lives are lost because of reckless drink drivers.”
At the end of 2017 the Government set out plans to introduce life sentences for people who cause death by dangerous driving and for careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs, but since then no legislation has been introduced.
If the petition receives 10,000 signatures the Government will have to respond to it.
If it receives 100,000 signatures then it will be considered for a debate in Parliament.
The petition can be viewed at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/262126?.