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Family petition for law change after tragic crash deaths

Published date: 30 May 2014 |
Published by: Garth ApThomas 
Read more articles by Garth ApThomas  Email reporter


 

A BEREAVED family has launched a campaign seeking justice for unborn babies killed by dangerous drivers.

The relatives of Christina Barchetti, who was pregnant when she died aged 35 in a road crash on the A541 at Pontblyddyn, near Mold, in October 2012, have started an online petition and are seeking the public’s support.

They want a change in the law allowing the prosecution of motorists who have caused the death of an unborn child by dangerous driving.

The ‘Bella’s Law’ petition has been launched by Christina’s uncle Paul Humphreys, of Borras, Wrexham, who said: “Christina and her baby, Bella Cristina, were killed by a dangerous driver, leaving an empty nursery, empty cot and empty hearts.

“When both mother and child are lost by the actions of others those deemed responsible are not charged with causing the death on both counts. We feel this is unfair and are seeking to change the law.”

Christina (Chrissy) lived in Beechley Road, Wrexham. Mr Humphreys, 60, said her death had been a continuing huge loss for family members.

“We still feel it every day,” he said. “Christina was a genuine star, such a lovely caring person who was very quiet.”

The online petition reads: “When all the evidence suggests the outcome of a pregnancy is positive for the expectant mother and unborn child, we feel those deemed responsible for their death should face prosecution.

“We therefore ask Parliament to introduce or amend the law to enable a charge of causing the death of the unborn child by careless or dangerous driving.”

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas has been working closely with Christina’s family in seeking to change the current law.

Mr Lucas said: “This is a deeply tragic case. My heart goes out to family members.

“I think the petition is a powerful way of expressing support for the family, who feel let down by the system. They feel justice has not been done.”

In January the Leader reported 22-year-old Calvin Craig Connah, of Ffordd Derw, Leeswood, near Mold, admitted causing death by careless driving but had denied causing death by driving dangerously on the A541. A jury at Mold Crown Court convicted him of that charge by a 10-2 majority. Connah was jailed for five years and banned from driving for five years.

Christina’s family and partner wanted Connah to be also charged with causing the death of Bella Cristina but the law did not allow it.

Judge Philip Hughes said Connah did not appreciate the enormity of what he had done and seemed to regard it as an error of judgement which resulted in terrible consequences.

There were a number of aggravating features including excessive speed and aggressive and intimidating driving and the judge said he took into account that two lives were lost.

After the case Christina’s partner, Graham Clarke, said they wanted to see a change in the law because they felt that in the eyes of the law the death of baby Bella Cristina did not seem to count.

“We are working with our local MP to get the law changed over stillborn deaths,” he said in a statement issued on behalf of the family after the sentencing.

“This person was only charged with one death, that of Christina.

“He was not charged with the death of baby Bella, even though she was born by Caesarean section and we held her in our arms.

“She did not have a chance to take one breath in the outside world,” he said.

“We’re working hard and are going to take it to the House of Commons to try and get this law changed.”

l So far there are more than 120 signatures on the online petition. To find details about the petition log on to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65451.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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  1. Posted by: RolandCleth at 09:25 on 30 May 2014 Report

    Is not the penalty for causing one death the same as for causing two anyway? And in this instance - as in any others similar - the judge took both deaths into account?

  2. Posted by: Sherpa at 13:43 on 06 June 2014 Report

    Academic ? That's nice ! Seeing family reduced to shells of their former selves. This part due to not having Bella's name on the charge sheet.

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