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Disgust over sentence for Pontblyddyn death crash driver

Published date: 16 June 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A MAN has spoken out against a jail sentence given to the driver responsible for a crash which killed his niece.

Paul Humphreys, 60, of Borras, Wrexham, says he and his relatives are appalled the man behind the wheel of the BMW which caused the collision which killed Christina Barchetti was only jailed for five years and banned from driving for five years.

Hospital worker Miss Barchetti was pregnant when she died, aged 35, after the crash at Pontblyddyn in October, 2012.

Calvin Craig Connah, aged 22 of Ffordd Derw, Leeswood, near Mold, admitted causing death by careless driving but denied causing death by driving dangerously on the A541, but a jury at Mold Crown Court convicted him by a 10-2 majority in December.

He was sentenced in January.

Mr Humphreys said: “As a family we felt disgusted at the sentence given, it was far too short.

“The man responsible didn’t show remorse and tried to get out of it.

“The leniency of the sentence was a further blow to us following the deep loss we had already suffered.”

Mr Humphreys described his niece as a lovely, caring person who was very quiet.
He said her death was felt deeply every day by family members.

In sentencing Connah, Judge Philip Hughes said Miss Barchetti had done nothing wrong and was driving at a safe speed. She had no chance to take evasive action before Connah lost control of his car and crashed virtually head on into the Ford Ka she was driving.

The trial heard Connah was driving his father’s BMW 318 Ti and decided to overtake another car at the end of a 70mph dual-carriageway.

But he braked hard when the road became a single carriageway as it entered bends through a wooded area in a 50 mph zone and lost control.

Miss Barchetti, 35, died at Wrexham Maelor Hospital where she worked. Her daughter Bella Cristina was stillborn in an emergency caesarean operation.

Judge Hughes said the starting point for sentencing was four years but he increased it to six years to reflect the aggressive nature of the driving and the excessive speed.

However, he added the sentence would be reduced to five years to take into account mitigation including Connah’s previously clean criminal record.

Mr Humphreys has also launched an online petition calling for a change in the law allowing the prosecution of motorists who have caused the death of an unborn child by dangerous driving.

The petition has been attracting widespread support and so far gained more than 1,600 signatures.

“We have been very heartened by the backing we have received. It helps to spur us on.” said Mr Humphreys.

“We would like to thank everyone who has given us their support.”

Mr Humphreys also thanked Wrexham MP Ian Lucas who has been working with Miss Barchetti’s family over seeking to change the current law.

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

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