'Lenient' sentence review for speeding driver who killed his brother and their friend

Canva pic of Scott Fitzgerald
Scott Fitzgerald was jailed in January this year -Credit:Leicestershire Police

A judge has been asked to consider increasing the jail sentence given to a man who killed his own brother and a close friend in a crash. Scott Fitzgerald, 37, was going at up to 83mph along Forest Road in Woodhouse, near Loughborough - which has a 30mph limit - when he lost control and hit a wall and an oncoming van.

Despite his younger brother Shane, 29, and their 36-year-old friend Daniel Witheridge being fatally injured in the crash, Fitzgerald, of Manor Road, Loughborough, fled the scene, only to be later arrested in hospital. While under arrest, Fitzgerald assaulted a police officer and refused to let medics take a blood sample to test for intoxicants.

The crash, which happened at around 6.20pm on Tuesday, October 3 last year, also caused minor injuries to Fitzgerald himself. The driver of the oncoming van and a third passenger in Fitzgerald's car were also injured.

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Fitzgerald pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, failing to provide a specimen and one count of assaulting an emergency worker. He was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Friday, January 19, and given a total of nine years and 10 months in prison.

But the Attorney General, Victoria Prentis, used her powers to demand a review of the case of Fitzgerald, who already had 107 offences on his criminal record, including five for dangerous driving. Three judges of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division have now published their conclusions.

The court documents state that the barrister for the Attorney General argued the sentence "was unduly lenient, given the presence of numerous aggravating factors, the fact that two deaths were caused, and the overall seriousness of the offending".

It was argued that the sentencing judge at Leicester Crown Court should have added more jail time for the facts that there was "a deliberate decision to ignore the rules of the road and disregard for the risk of danger to others" and secondly that he was going at "a speed significantly in excess of the speed limit" and in the seconds leading up to the collision going "almost three times the speed limit".

The three appeal judges were required to decide whether the Attorney General should have leave to appeal the sentencing - not what the sentence should have been. But they decided not to allow the appeal.

They said in their conclusion: "We do not consider that the judge's conclusion was outside the range that was reasonably open to him. Accordingly, we refuse the application for leave [to appeal]."