Widower calls for drivers who kill to get life bans from road
A GRANDFATHER whose wife was killed after a van pulled into the path of their motorcycle is calling for motorists who cause death through poor driving to be banned from the roads for life.
Bob Stovell is still undergoing operations more than three years after the smash that robbed him of his wife.
Now the former firefighter wants to see harsher sentences for people like David Clarke, who was convicted of causing the mother of two's death at the age of 55.
Mr Stovell, 56, of Ripley, said: "The man that killed my wife got a community sentence, was banned for three years and wasn't even fined. It was a joke.
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"That was all that my wife's life was worth. Our justice system is completely unfair.
"Because of the crash, I can't remember the last 40 years, I have lost my wife and lost my memories of her.
"And that man walked out of court without even looking at us."
Mr and Mrs Stovell were riding their Harley Davidson to a rally in August 2009, when a Royal Mail van driven by David Clarke pulled into their path on the A429, near Moreton-in-Marsh.
Mr Stovell was flown to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham by air ambulance and was still being treated in hospital when 400 people attended his wife's funeral.
A year and a half later, Clarke, a former RAF airmen, pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court to causing death by careless driving.
The court was told that Clarke was making his last delivery of the day and was turning into a farm entrance when the crash happened.
He turned across double white lines towards the driveway and hit the motorcycle, having failed to see it approaching.
Mr Stovell is now calling on Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills to propose a Private Member's Bill to impose harsher sentences on people who cause death on the road.
He said: "I want anyone who kills someone with their car to be banned for life.
"They have two legs so they should just get the bus or walk.
"The laws we have at the moment are not a deterrent. People don't realise how dangerous a car is."
Mr Stovell also wants to see a change to driving tests.
He said: "As a fireman, we had to do advanced driving and got to use the skid pan at Ripley police headquarters.
"Just half an hour on that would allow people to experience a car skidding in a controlled environment.
"My daughter has just passed her test and I told her instructor that I wanted her to have four or five more lessons.
"I wanted her to go out on the motorway, drive at night and in rush hour traffic."
Mr Stovell also thinks that more needs to be done to educate people on keeping an eye out for bikes, something that could be checked during regular re-testing.
He said: "People get into such bad habits and hardly any of them would pass their test if they had to take it again. There should be compulsory tests every five or 10 years to make sure people are up to scratch.
"I know there are probably too many laws at the moment but it's so important."
Mr Mills said: "I will be meeting with Mr Stovell to discuss this very important issue."