The family of a 20-year-old woman who was hit and left to die on a Lincolnshire road by a disqualified driver say they are “relieved” that his sentence has not been reduced. Shane Kelk, 28, of no fixed address, was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison on February 3, 2023, for causing the death of Amy Cooper.
On Tuesday, October 17, 2023, Kelk’s appeal against his sentence at the Court of Appeal in London was dismissed by Lord Justice William Davis. Kelk crashed into an oncoming motorbike ridden by Amy after overtaking a car in Holbeach St Johns on November 13, 2022.
He went over to Amy, who lay seriously injured in the road, said he was sorry, before fleeing the scene to a nearby farm and calling his girlfriend to pick him up. He was taken to an address in Holbeach, then to another in Peterborough, where police arrested him as he tried to scale a wall.
The family statement reads: “We are relieved at the outcome of Tuesday’s appeal and the decision to not reduce the sentence given in February. We won’t say that we’re happy, just relieved. We’re relieved that this is now over and we can actually try to grieve.
“Something we haven’t been able to do since she was killed because of the different court processes that have been involved, especially this appeal. Amy and her short 20 years of life were brutally, violently taken away in a crash that was entirely avoidable, from actions that no sensible, legal driver would have ever even considered. A driver who left her at the side of the road to die.”
It adds: “The 11 months since Amy was killed have been exhausting, painful, and indescribably awful for all of us in our own ways trying to grieve a daughter, a sister, an aunty, a girlfriend, a best friend. The additional weight of the appeals process, the inability to talk publicly about it and the lack of control we have had over it all has made it even worse, which we didn’t think was possible.
“We want to extend our sincere gratitude to Lincolnshire Police, who could not have done more to support us and to bring the driver that killed Amy to justice, and we are forever thankful to the force, and especially to DC Pendell, DS Doona and case officer Newboult.
“We extend our deepest gratitude too to the paramedics and medical personnel at Peterborough Hospital who took care of Amy and did their best to keep her alive. We also want to thank our prosecution team for their help with the original sentencing and with this appeal and for keeping us informed where possible.”
Amy died from multiple pelvic and abdominal injuries in hospital on November 14, 2022. Kelk pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by driving while disqualified, failing to stop at the collision and failing to report, driving without insurance and possessing cannabis resin.
As well as being sentenced, he was banned from driving for eight years and six months and until an extended driving test is passed. Amy’s family also thanked RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, for its support and the work it does to support bereaved families and injured victims to campaign for better laws around dangerous driving and road deaths.
The family statement continues: “There is a great injustice occurring across this country for the families of those who are killed on our roads every day. Amy was just driving home. She deserved to have made it there alive. We should have spent this year going on trips and visiting each other, instead we are now attending memorials and court hearings, some of which, like Tuesday, aren’t even in her name.
“We didn’t want to put ourselves in the public eye like this but we have to fight for Amy because she can’t. Sentencing has greatly improved, but road crime and causing death by dangerous driving are still, in our opinion, not given long enough sentences.”
The statement concludes: “Don’t forget Amy. Don’t forget the thousands that have died on our roads since the first road fatality in this country in 1896. Don’t forget the, on average, five deaths a day on UK roads.
“And when you next get in your vehicle and drive home, remember that it is a privilege, not a right, to drive a vehicle, and be grateful that you made it home to your loved ones, just as Amy should have been able to.”
A campaign recently launched by RoadPeace is calling for longer sentences for dangerous drivers.