The Newcastle Evening Chronicle has launched a campaign calling for a change in the law so that killer joyriders can be jailed for life.
The campaign follows the death of six-year-old Rebecca Sawyer, who died in Ashington, Northumber-land, on New Year’s Day after her father’s car was hit by joyrider Ian Carr.
Carr was jailed for nine-and-a-half years last week after admitting causing death by dangerous driving and five other motoring offences.
His sentence was immediately condemned by Rebecca’s father, Steven, who, together with his other daughter Kirsty, aged 20 months, was badly injured in the carnage.
He said: “Nothing but a life sentence will stop Ian Carr from going behind the wheel of a car in future and no doubt he will.”
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Carr, 27, had previously been banned from driving for life and had a total of 89 criminal convictions – including one for another joyride killing.
After jailing Carr, Judge David Hodson said his sentencing powers were limited by law.
He said: “I hope that everyone will understand that this court can only work within the parameters that have been set by Parliament in conjunction with the guideline cases from the Court of Appeal.”
The Chronicle’s Justice For Rebecca campaign calls for a change in the law to allow joyride killers like Carr to receive sentences of up to life imprisonment.
Chronicle editor Paul Robertson said: “It is unbelievable that someone with Carr’s record is unable to face a longer jail sentence. We believe the only justice for Rebecca is for the law to be changed to give the courts the power to jail such offenders for life.”
The newspaper has called on its army of readers to sign a petition calling for a change in the law.
The last time the newspaper raised a similar petition, for a strengthening of the laws concerning airgun controls, more than 21,000 people signed it.