Families of Jade Srawley and Amelia Ecob condemn driver's sentence as a `disgrace'
The families of two friends killed in a horrific car crash have called the sentence given to the man responsible "a disgrace".
Thomas Conners was jailed for 36 weeks yesterday for setting off a sequence of collisions which led to the deaths of friends Jade Srawley and Amelia Ecob.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of causing death by careless driving after the accident on the B585 near Market Bosworth.
Prosecutor James House told Leicester Crown Court that Conners had tried to turn right into the Good Friday caravan park in Bagworth Road, in Barlestone, at about 8pm on January 27 last year.
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He did not indicate or brake as he pulled into the path of oncoming traffic.
A Renault Twingo driven by Jade Srawley and containing Amelia Ecob and another friend could not avoid colliding with his Fiat van.
Mr House said the Renault was then clipped by a Ford Focus travelling behind Conners.
He said Conners, 22, who had his young wife and child in the van with him, went into the caravan park for help.
The three young women, who were on their way to the cinema, got out of their car, along with the Ford driver.
Jade and Amelia were killed after returning to the Renault, when a passing Toyota Rav 4 – unable to see the danger ahead – smashed into it.
After the hearing, their families criticised the sentence and called for a change in the law.
Jade's parents, Lee and Dawn Srawley, of Battram, said: "This so-called sentence is a disgrace.
"This man will be out of jail in 18 weeks and free to carry on his life. He has a ridiculous sentence while we have a life sentence."
Amelia's parents, David and Jane Ecob, also of Battram, said they were going to consult their local MP about the law. They said: "Both sets of parents are going to talk to our MP to see if we can get this law altered.
"The judge was restricted by the sentencing guidelines and it is wrong.
"This man took the lives of two innocent young women and this is all that happens.
"The sentence does not match the crime."
During the hearing, Mr House said: "It would appear Jade and Amelia had returned to the Renault to get personal possessions or mobile phones.
"The lights in the Renault had been smashed in the collision and the lights of the van had also been extinguished."
He said the driver of the Toyota could not have avoided the collision. It had been dark and there were no street lights.
Mr House said Conners, of Mary Street Caravan Site, Bradford, heard the loud bang and ran off.
Anne-Marie Hutton, defending, said her client was a hard-working family man.
She said: "It is tragic that a moment of inattention has had such fatal and far-reaching consequences for all those involved."
Judge Michael Fowler told Conners, who spent the hearing with his head in his hands, that he had to decide whether the offence merited him suspending the jail sentence.
He said: "Having regard to your actions in leaving the scene in what was a callous and cowardly way it is not appropriate in this case. I cannot suspend the sentence."
He also banned Conners from driving for a year.