Top policeman criticises the sentences handed out to road offenders on same day a killer driver gets a mere year behind bars

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A top police officer has complained about the sentences handed down to motoring offenders -on the same day that a repeat speeding driver was handed a single year behind bars for killing a man and leaving his son with life-altering injuries. Chief Superintendent Sam Donaldson, giving evidence about road safety to MLAs at Stormont, said: "it is very, very frustrating when people who have been caught" breaking motoring laws" and "the consequences are insufficient". He added: "I think the biggest issue of all on our roads ... is people don't realise the consequences" that things like speeding can bring.

He was speaking about sentencing in general, rather than a specific case.

The aftermath of the crash west of ColeraineThe aftermath of the crash west of ColeraineThe aftermath of the crash west of Coleraine

But on the very same day a court case reached its conclusion which is likely to be met with raised eyebrows - the sentencing of Gavin Hume for the death of Edward Montgomery, 63, and the wounding of his 21-year-old son Matthew. Hume, a 30-year-old prison officer, had a previous conviction for exceeding 100mph on a motorway. But in August 2019 on Quilly Road to the west of Coleraine he again exceeded 100mph - this time in a 60mph zone - after a heavy downpour.

Hume's car veered out of control and into the facing lane, killing the father Edward at the scene and leaving his son trapped in the vehicle. Matthew spent two months in hospital, and today still has metal plates and pins through his body and has to take pain relief. The judge told the killer driver that, if not for his guilty plea, his total sentence - on licence and in custody combined - would have been 36 months.

But allowing credit for his guilty plea, he would decrease it to 27 months, with 12 to be served in jail and the rest on licence.

Hume was also banned from driving for five years.


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