Family appeal ‘grossly inadequate sentence’ for drink-driver who killed Peterborough trio on parkway

The family of three Peterborough people killed by a drink-driver on the Frank Perkins Parkway are appealing his “grossly inadequate sentence”.

Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 5:08 pm

The family of three Peterborough people killed by a drink-driver on the Frank Perkins Parkway are appealing his “grossly inadequate sentence”.

Tommy Whitmore was jailed for eight years and four months on Monday after getting behind the wheel of his Ford Ranger pick-up truck and crashing head-on into a Renault Megane, killing all of the occupants.

They were driver Marko Makula (22), his 21-year-old fiancee Jana Kockova, who was the front seat passenger, and her 19-year-old brother Tomas Kocko, who was the rear seat passenger.

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Tomas Kocko, Jana Kockova and Marko Makula

Marko and Jana, who had two children aged two and one, had been to pick up Tomas and were on their way home at the time.

Cambridge Crown Court heard Whitmore had been drinking and smoking cannabis and had ignored warnings not to drive before heading the wrong way down a slip road and crashing into the Renault on April 13. A sobbing Whitmore was jailed after admitting causing three deaths by dangerous driving.

The 26-year-old from Stonegate in Cowbit, near Spalding, was also banned from driving for nine years and two months. But Marko’s brother Mario said the family have been “devastated” by the sentence and have appealed.

Marcela Kokova, the mother of Tomas Kocko and Jana Kockova, and Ladislav Markula, the father of Marko Makula, after the verdict.

He added: “The justice system is unacceptable and it is insulting. Three lives have been taken, but it does not feel like the punishment is appropriate for the crime.

“I thought I would feel a sense of comfort and justice for the loss of my three family members after the court case, but now I feel even worse. I feel I have a responsibility to fight this.

“All we want is justice. No one can bring Marko, Tomas and Jana back but I want them to be at rest.” The family are also in the process of setting up a government petition.

Jana and Tomas lived in Hinchcliffe, Orton Goldhay, while Marko lived in Reeves Way, Eastfield.

Tommy Whitmore

The court heard Whitmore had been warned by his girlfriend not to get behind the wheel after an evening out drinking at a restaurant then at Farcet Village Hall. He was more than double the drink-drive limit and over the drug-drive limit.

Prosecutor Peter Gair said Whitmore ignored her advice to sleep in his vehicle and instead drove off three minutes after she left with her parents.

He started driving at 11.51pm before crashing seven minutes later.

The family of the deceased were in court for Monday’s hearing. Judge David Farrell QC, sentencing, told Whitmore: “You made a deliberate decision to drive despite being grossly intoxicated.”

Claire Matthews, mitigating, said Whitmore had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. She described him as a “hard-working young man with a five-year-old daughter”, adding: “This was in my submission a short piece of bad driving with catastrophic consequences.”

In a statement which was read out in the court, the families of the deceased said they felt “indescribable pain” and that the “mental wounds may never heal”. During sentence Judge Farrell praised the actions of other motorists who stopped to try to help, including some who stopped on the other side of the road and crossed the central barrier.