If I spent a day drinking, and then killed your nephew by smashing him with a lump of metal, you’d expect me to go to prison for a long time.
My oldest friend, Matt, was the only member of his family who could face going to court for the sentencing of the man who killed Steve Smith, his nephew. Steve was twenty when he was killed by Simon Kelly, aged 47, of Charlton Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire.
Steve had spent the day with his girlfriend of two years, and was riding home on his motorbike when Simon Kelly killed him with his Toyota Rav, which he was driving on the wrong side of a country lane.
Kelly had spent the day drinking at home, and in pubs with his wife. Instead of getting a lift home with his wife in her car (she wasn’t drunk), he chose to drive. He had 147 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 micrograms.
Why he ignored the warning signs on the road and decided to overtake her car on a blind bend, less than a mile away from their home, is unknown.
“There’s no suggestion of competitive driving”, said Kelly’s lawyer, and I certainly wouldn’t want to imply such criminal, irresponsible, stupid and selfish behaviour of Kelly (who was previously banned for 27 months for drink-driving in 2001).
Steve’s girlfriend, Jenny, said in court,
There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think about him. Our future life together has been taken away.
I’ve no idea what our future would have been, but I know I now have to face it without him.
A year afterwards, Steve’s mum still cries herself to sleep sometimes.
Simon Kelly was sent to prison for three years and four months. He’ll be out in two years.
I didn’t know Steve, but I’ve met his mum and his sister a few times, and I’ve known his grandmother and uncles and aunts forever. Three years and four months for his life doesn’t seem fair to me.
Does that seem like justice to you?
(Report in the Gloucestershire Echo)