Justice Minister pledges to change law as Peterborough residents react to jail term given to drink driver who killed city mum

The Justice Minister has said legislation to give longer sentences to drink drivers who kill will be introduced - after being asked about it in Parliament by a former Prime Minister.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 2:49 pm

Yesterday Adam White was given a nine year jail sentence - meaning he will be released from prison in four and a half years - after admitting causing a crash which killed Peterborough mum Katy Cunningham, and left her 11 year-old daughter Freya fighting for her life. Freya’s eight year-old brother, Zak, and the driver of another car, Sharon Almey, were also seriously injured in the crash in January last year. White (38) of Accacia Avenue was more than twice the drink drive limit at the time. He has a history of drink driving, and has been caught driving under the influence since the fatal crash.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Adam White

Peterborough Crown Court heard the maximum sentence possible in the case was 14 years - and Judge Matthew Lowe also had to reduce the sentence because of White’s guilty plea.

There was an angry reaction on social media following the sentence, with Peterborough Telegraph readers calling for White to be given a much longer sentence.

The Peterborough Telegraph has campaigned for longer sentences to be available for judges in cases where drivers who are under the influence of drink or drugs kill, following two tragic court cases last year.

In October 2017, The Government announced plans to give judges the option of imposing a life sentence in such cases, but the plans have not yet been made law - and were not included in the Queen’s Speech following last year’s General Election.

This week in Parliament, former Prime Minister Theresa May, who still represents the Maidenhead constituency, asked The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland, about when the plans would be made law.

Mrs May said: “One of the areas of sentencing policy that has already been reviewed and consulted on is the whole question of death by dangerous driving, particularly when drugs are involved, such as in the tragic case of my constituent, Bryony Hollands. The previous Government committed to legislate on this issue to lengthen sentences in certain circumstances. This is not in the Queen’s Speech. Are this Government committed to legislate and, if so, when?”

Mr Buckland replied: “I thank my right hon. Friend for raising that point. I have met in this place families of victims of this appalling crime and worked with hon. Members across the House on the issue. I want to get on with it. The commitment remains absolutely crystal clear. I very much hope that we can have a vehicle to do that. I am going to be doing a sentencing Bill this year; that could be one vehicle. I want to get on with this as soon as possible. We will have the time and the support of the Government to change the law in the right direction.”