I am grateful to the House for allowing me this debate. I intend to cover a range of issues relating to aggravated dangerous driving. I shall focus on the tragic death of Rebecca Sawyer and call for a number of changes to laws relating to motoring offences.
The tragic events of the last new year's eve caused shock and revulsion throughout the United Kingdom. At 10.44 pm on
Ian Carr had three passengers in the stolen vehicle, two men and a woman. The stolen Vauxhall Astra sped through the red light, crashing into the Sawyer family's car, with horrific consequences. The three members of the Sawyer family were seriously injured and taken to Wansbeck general hospital, where, tragically, Rebecca Sawyer died at 5 past 12 on
What of the fate of the driver and passengers in the offending vehicle? Eye-witnesses stated that after the collision the offending vehicle eventually stopped on the footpath directly outside an Asian-run shop. As soon as the car stopped, a male, described as tall and slim, was seen getting out of the driver's seat. That person ran off immediately and did not return to the scene. Shortly afterwards, the rear offside passenger door opened. A male and female left the car. The male ran off first, quickly followed by the female.
Ian Carr made no attempt even to check whether his passengers were injured, let alone to seek help for the terrible injuries he had caused. He did what he has always done: he ran away—a callous, cowardly act. Carr then went into hiding. Two of the three passengers gave themselves up to the police the next day, the third having been arrested near the scene. The three passengers showed the same total disregard for human life that Carr did. They made no attempt to offer assistance and must bear a heavy responsibility for leaving the scene of a serious crime without offering any help. Those were not the actions of innocent people.
At 4.57 pm on
Carr had 89 previous convictions. One of his offences was committed on
The driver then asked the other passengers to provide an alibi by saying that the deceased was the driver of the stolen vehicle. In fact, Ian Carr was the driver, and he was charged and convicted at Newcastle Crown court, and sentenced to 12 months youth custody for causing death by reckless driving, the maximum sentence permitted because of his age. Carr was described as arrogant, callous and uncaring. He showed absolutely no remorse. His only thoughts were for himself, which was exactly how he was described before he was sentenced for his latest terrible crime.
In passing sentence for that crime this year, the judge stated:
"The circumstances of this offence in which you caused the death of a much loved little girl, inflicted critical injuries to her baby sister and caused less serious injuries to her father have torn at the hearts of people throughout this region and indeed further afield as well.
Nothing I can say can begin to adequately describe the revulsion that the community feels at what you have done. Everyone is understandably appalled."