Peterborough driver jailed for eight years after killing three people will not have ‘insulting’ sentence extended

A driver who killed three people while under the influence of drink and drugs will not have his eight year sentence increased, despite the victims’ families saying the sentence was an ‘insult’

Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 7:00 am
Tommy Whitmore

Tommy Whitmore killed 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.

Marko and Jana, who had two children aged two and one, had been to pick up Tomas and were on their way home when the crash happened. Whitmore crashed his Ford Ranger head on into the Renault driven by Marko. Whitmore was driving the wrong way on the Frank Perkins Parkway at the time.

Blood tests later showed Whitmore had 186 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 milligrammes of alcohol. He was also over the legal limit for cannabis.

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Following the sentence, Marko’s brother Mario said the family of the three Peterborough victims were ‘devastated’ by the sentence.

But today, The Attorney General’s office confirmed the sentence would not be extended.

A spokesman said: “After careful consideration the Attorney General has concluded that he could not refer this case to the Court of Appeal. A referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal can only be made if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available in the circumstances of the offence. The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case.”

A spokesman for Brake said the Government must prioritise introducing tougher sentences.

He said: “Deaths and serious injuries on our roads cause terrible suffering every day.

“Tragically, drivers who kill all too often receive lenient sentences leaving grieving relatives feeling grossly let down by our legal system.

“We need laws that act as a deterrent to dangerous drivers, and penalties that reflect the suffering caused.”

The average sentence for causing death by dangerous driving in England and Wales during 2018 was 64 months, according to RoadPeace, which campaigns on behalf of crash victims.

A spokeswoman said many cases that start out as dangerous driving end up as causing death by careless driving, which carry much more lenient sentences.

“Too often bereaved families have their suffering aggravated by the complacency in our justice system,” she said.

“Lenient sentences and paltry compensation settlements leave families feeling like the death of their loved one meant little to society and the public.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “Killer drivers ruin lives and can already face a maximum of 14 years in prison for their crimes.

“We intend to give courts the power to hand down life sentences for death by dangerous driving – sending a clear message to those who drive irresponsibly. Proposals for a change in the law will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.”