The families of two Leyland students who died in a horrific car crash have pledged to help make sure no one else goes through their agony of seeing the driver of the car escape a prison sentence.
Sixteen-year-old Jade Pickering and her childhood friend Tia Guye, both students at Leyland’s Runshaw College, were killed when the Ford Focus they were travelling in smashed into a coach on the A6 Blackrod bypass in September, 2009.
The driver, 20-year-old Jordan Clayton, received a sentence of 150 hours’ community service after he pleaded guilty earlier this year to causing death by careless driving.
A petition has now been launched by their devastated families to change sentencing laws so anyone convicted of causing a death on the roads is automatically handed a prison sentence.
Jade’s mum Nicky, of Eaves Lane, Chorley, said: “I spent all last week on the phone to the House of Commons, the Ministry of Justice and the head of petitions in Parliament.
“I want the law changed so if someone causes a death by dangerous or careless driving there will be a prison sentence. A defendant can appeal their sentence, but a victim cannot.
“This is not just for Tia and Jade. We need to get the voices of all victims heard.”
The petition has gathered almost 800 votes online, countless written signatures, and gained the attention of celebrity mum Coleen Nolan, who took to Twitter to support the campaign.
Nicky said: “I want to make an impact. My aim is 100,000 signatures.
“To me, when you become a parent, you would die for your child. That choice has been taken away from us. We weren’t given the option.
“People keep looking at me and thinking ‘oh my God, what is she doing?’ But if this is the last thing I can ever do for Jade, I will do everything I can.”
Nicky Pickering also wants an independent body to review the whole case to assess whether everything was handled correctly.
She said: “There is no advice anywhere for victims. This has affected so many people.
“I will be going into Chorley town centre on May 12 to collect signatures. I am also going to be going to Wigan, Bolton, Blackpool, Manchester.”
Clayton was unanimously cleared of causing death by dangerous driving after a trial at Bolton Crown Court earlier this year.
Nicky thanked everyone who has become involved in the campaign, and admits the attention would have been a little embarrassing for her daughter Jade, a student at Leyland’s Runshaw College, who she says was adored by everyone who knew her.
She said: “Jade would probably be embarrassed but she would also be very proud.
“I have had so many offers of help. The response has been unbelievable.”