William Bratton was jailed for 75 months after he killed 23-year-old Josh Spender
The mum of a young Crewe man who died when he was struck by a van has blasted the UK’s ‘outdated’ justice system. Sarah Shenton made the comments after the Attorney General confirmed it would not be reviewing her son’s killer’s sentence.
Josh Spender, 23, died after he was hit by a van while he was using the traffic-light controlled pedestrian crossing on Macon Way on November 5 last year. The driver William Bratton, from Market Drayton, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced in May to 75 months in prison – about six and a quarter years.
Dr Kieran Mullan, Crewe and Nantwich MP, recently called for a review of the sentence on the basis that it was ‘unduly lenient’. But it was decided that the ‘high threshold’ to refer it to the Court of Appeal had not been met.
Responding to the decision, Mrs Shenton told Cheshire Live that it was what the family expected. She said she understood the position Judge Steven Everett, the Recorder of Chester, was in when he sentenced Bratton.
She said: “Deep down I think that we knew it wouldn’t be a good result. I think Judge Everett did his best for us on May 20 in giving him the maximum sentence that he was able to within his guidelines. He did say a few times that he has to stick within the law himself.
“Kieran Mullan has been amazing and we are going to help him in the future with his campaign about lenient sentences and taking it to parliament. We will do whatever we can to help him. I think the justice system is outdated and needs a review not only for us as a family but hundreds of other families who are going through the same ordeal.”
Dr Mullan wrote a letter to the Attorney General earlier this month after speaking to Mrs Shenton and Josh’s dad Stephen Spender. He referred to the fact Bratton was both disqualified and uninsured at the time of the incident.
“After careful consideration the Solicitor General has concluded that this case cannot properly be referred to the Court of Appeal.
“A referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal can only be made if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available in the circumstances of the offence. The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case.”
Josh was described as a man who was ‘well-loved’ by both his family and the community. He grew up in the town, had previously worked at Leighton Hospital and was a passionate fan of Crewe Alex.
His death caused an outpouring of grief from the community, with 200 of his former hospital colleagues lining the streets on the day of his funeral as the procession drove past. Crewe Alex and Bolton Wanderers also paused for a round of applause in the 23rd minute of their game following his death.
More recently, the family visited the Vagrants sports club to support Crewe Railroaders, who Josh started to paly for before his death. The family were presented with a helmet with Josh’s name on it and they donated money to the club to help them buy equipment for the season.
- 13:04, 22 JUN 2022
- UPDATED18:14, 22 JUN 2022