The family of a school teacher killed by a delivery driver today spoke of their hurt as he launched a court appeal to overturn a 10-year driving ban.
Tracey Wilson, 55, who was a child protection officer at City of London Academy Islington, died in hospital two days after being hit by a van driven by Paul Austin after he jumped a red light in Hornsey High Street in December 2018.
The former Grenadier Guard, 56, of Stotfold, Herts, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and in January was sentenced to six months’ jail, suspended for two years, plus a 10-year driving ban.
On Wednesday, his lawyers were asking the Court of Appeal to reconsider the driving ban, which they argue is “disproportionate”.
But Ms Wilson’s sister Lorraine Wilson said the appeal was an “insult” to her memory.
She said: “Since this has happened to Tracey, we as a family and her only son, Courtney, struggle to cope on a daily basis.
“The pain that we have is with us 24 hours a day of not having Tracey here, we are heartbroken and devastated. Our once close family has been ripped apart mentally and emotionally. We are heartbroken.
“Tracey was an uplifting, caring, courageous, amazing woman who devoted all of her time to her family, her friends and her pupils.
"We as a family need for justice to happen for Tracey. Our sentence cannot be reduced, our sentence is for life.”
RoadPeace, the charity for road crash victims, is supporting the family. It said driving bans were underused despite being an appropriate form of justice.
The appeal is seen as a test case for the use of long bans.
Victoria Lebrec, head of campaigns for RoadPeace, said: “The driving bans given for death by careless driving are often far too low.
"Families whose loved one has been killed cannot understand why the driver is then allowed back on the roads, sometimes after as little as 12 months.
“RoadPeace does not tend to comment on individual cases, but we feel strongly that a 10-year ban is entirely fitting for causing a death.
"Prison should not be the first port of call for driving carelessly. Driving bans are a punishment that truly fit the crime.
“It goes beyond the question of punishment, and into the realm of public safety. Drivers who go through a red light and kill someone should receive a long ban to protect the public.”
When Austin was sentenced at the Old Bailey in January, the court was told he had been “in a rush” as he neared the end of an 11-hour shift delivering medical supplies for Alliance Healthcare, making deliveries to pharmacies.
Ms Wilson suffered a fractured skull in the collision. Austin had been 24 metres from the crossing in Hornsey High Street when the lights turned red, and had “ample time to stop”, said prosecutor Tom Nicholson.
Austin insisted he “did not see” Ms Wilson.
Judge John Hillen said: “It was more than a momentary loss of concentration — it was a serious falling short of the standards of competent driving.”
The judge said factors in the crash were Austin’s “history of stress” and the presence of a monitor on his van dashboard which informed his bosses about his driving and progress.
Austin’s lawyer told BBC London last night that he had shown “great remorse” following the collision, had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and the length of the ban was “disproportionate”.