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Suspended sentence for driver who killed cyclist on Isle of Man upheld following appeal

Attorney General’s Chambers had considered sentence ‘unduly lenient’

An appeal against the sentence imposed on an Isle of Man woman who killed a cyclist has been unsuccessful. In July, 63-year-old Linda Thompson received an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting to causing the death of Kathryn Burge by careless driving.

Manx Radio reports that the Attorney General's Chambers appealed on the basis that the original sentence was 'unduly lenient'. However, the defence successfully argued that her early guilty pleas and genuine remorse meant that the sentence imposed was appropriate.

Burge, from Stafford, died at the scene after being hit from behind by Thompson's Range Rover on Main Road, Kirk Michael, on August 4, 2014.

Several witnesses said Thompson, who had her one-year-old granddaughter in the car, had been driving erratically at times between Douglas and Kirk Michael, and to a standard that was described as ‘very poor’.

As well as the suspended sentence, Thompson was also banned from driving for three years and had her licence revoked. A probation report said that her ‘fragile’ mental health would deteriorate in prison and that custody would interfere with her getting the treatment she needed.

Deemster Alastair Montgomerie said: “If it had been dangerous driving, I would not have suspended the sentence.”

IOM Today reports that Thompson was also sentenced to eight months custody, suspended for two years, for providing a false statement to police in relation to a separate incident and one month, suspended for two years, for making a false statement in a legal aid application.

Burge was described as a "talented athlete" who had represented Great Britain in triathlon. Her partner, Sean McLachlan, now campaigns for new laws on minimum overtaking distances via the Safe Cycling IOM website.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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atgni | 8 years ago

Petition to 'Add cycle awareness and safety to the current Driving theory test.'

adamthekiwi | 8 years ago
1 like

I'm going to go against the flow a bit here...

While I can see that there is a certain deterrent element to custodial sentences, the general point of them is a) to keep the public safe by keeping the perpetrator off the streets and b) to rehabilitate the perpetrator to prevent recidivism. What happened in this case is that the driver in question was given a three year driving ban and *had their license revoked* - this is the good bit that almost never happens. What we should be decrying is that she didn't get a lifetime ban, but at least she will need to resit her test - thus satisfying a) and b).

While I agree that the punishment seems light in view of the massive cost to the vicitm and family, the justice system is absolutely not about "eye for an eye".

Airzound | 8 years ago

The failure of this appeal brings the courts into disrepute. The woman is clearly a malevolent nasty piece of work who can lie, cheat and bully her way through life, manipulate and mislead people to pervert the course of justice. The Appeal court judges should be in jail along with this woman for the crime they have committed against society by not giving this woman a much stiffer sentence. An absolute disgrace.

Critchio | 8 years ago

So genuine remorse has an impact on the level of sentence? This is so wrong on many levels. Remorse should never ever form part of the sentencing rationale, no matter how sincere or genuine. British Justice is a fucking joke.

Stumps | 8 years ago

IMHO careless is clipping a car bumper whilst trying to reverse into a tight parking space, not using 2 ton of metal as a ten pin bowling ball. Also a certain P Sutcliffe weems to get his mental health problems dealt with alright whilst inside.................

brooksby replied to Stumps | 8 years ago
1 like

stumps wrote:

IMHO careless is clipping a car bumper whilst trying to reverse into a tight parking space, not using 2 ton of metal as a ten pin bowling ball. Also a certain P Sutcliffe weems to get his mental health problems dealt with alright whilst inside.................

I think Sutcliffe is in a secure hospital not a prison, but I agree with the essential point - tbh she would probably get better healthcare treatment And access to the same whilst Inside than out in the world...

bobbinogs | 8 years ago

I would truly love to say that I am shocked by all of this...but I am not shocked one bit  2

Housecathst | 8 years ago

Yeah I hate the term "careless driving" too, give the potential for total carnage which even a "normal" car can cause (see Guilford) let alone a Range Rover or a bin lorry. 

Im sure if somebody "carelessly" dropped a brick off a motorway bridge and hit this woman's windscreen they wouldn't be treated as leniently and rightly so. 

oldstrath | 8 years ago

So the idiot  judge thinks driving over a cycIist is not 'dangerous  driving'. What exactly do you have  to do to be driving dangerously? Close your  eyes  and steer with your feet? As for custody interfering with her treatment, frankly, that ought  to be tough. She did more than interfere with someone  else's  life.

Leodis | 8 years ago

She had the mentality to make a false claim for legal aid, I doubt serving time would have damaged her mentality any more.

Meanwhile in the news, a man who secretly built a castle faces prison if he doesnt demolish it... I give up.

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