Family of hit-and-run couple calls for stronger sentences

Floral tributes left at the scene of last month's fatal crash
Floral tributes left at the scene of last month's fatal crash

The families of a couple, who were killed in a fatal crash in Eastbourne last month, are calling for stronger sentences for people convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

The calls, made in a petition, come from family members of Eastbourne mum-of-three Maria Smith and her long term partner Richard Lewis-Clements from Buxted, who were both killed in a fatal hit-and-run collision at Eastbourne seafront on Friday, August 12.

The petition, which was started by Maria's cousin Siobhan Bowman, calls on justice secretary Liz Truss to review sentencing guidelines around charges of death by dangerous driving - allowing judges to match sentencing limits for manslaughter.

Last week, Jodan Hunt - a 24-year-old builder from Eastbourne - was jailed for two counts of death by dangerous driving. He was given two six-year sentences - to run concurrently - as well as an eight-year driving ban, after pleading guilty to the offences at Guildford Crown Court last Thursday (September 1).

He had fled from the scene of the crash and was found at the Cavendish Hotel in Grand Parade around two and a half hours later.

In the petition Ms Bowman writes: "This is not good enough. Not because we want the driver to suffer. Not because we want revenge. We simply want an end to drivers being given free reign to drive like maniacs on our roads without consequences. If four years in jail is the most a driver who kills receives, what deterrents can there possibly be for people caught speeding or drink driving?"

She also calls on Ms Truss to consider introducing lifetime driving bans for anyone convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and the introduction of stronger sentences for other driving offences including speeding and drink or drug driving.

Ms Bowman said: "Without stronger deterrents we will never see a significant decrease in the number of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads through dangerous and careless driving. Why wait until people die before we take action?"

For more details on the petition visit

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