MP introduces Sharlotte's Law bill after six-year-old's tragic death

Claire Reynolds, mother of Sharlotte-Sky Naglis, who was killed while walking on the pavement in Norton Green
Claire Reynolds, mother of Sharlotte-Sky Naglis, who was killed while walking on the pavement in Norton Green -Credit:Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel

A Stoke-on-Trent MP has presented a proposed new law named after a six-year-old girl who was tragically killed in a drink and drug-driving collision. Sharlotte-Sky Naglis died instantly after being hit by motorist John Owen, as she and her dad walked along the pavement on Endon Road, near their Norton Green home, in June 2021.

Owen, who was speeding and using his mobile phone, was twice over the drink-drive limit and had taken cocaine, but because he was left in a coma after the crash he was not able to consent to having a blood sample analysed until he woke - meaning Sharlotte's family had to wait months to find out that he was over the limit, which they say was 'like torture'. Owen, of The Square, Oakamoor, was eventually convicted and jailed for six years and two months in October 2022.

Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis has today presented a bill for 'Sharlotte's Law' in the House of Commons, which would amend the Road Traffic Act to allow blood samples to be analysed without the suspect's consent. Mr Gullis, who presented Sharlotte's Law as a Ten Minute Rule bill, told MPs that the change in the law would prioritise the needs of victims and their families.

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He also praised the courage of Sharlotte's mum Claire Reynolds who has been campaigning for the law to be changed so other families do not have to go through the same experience.

Mr Gullis said: "This legislative change has one simple intention - to put victims of road traffic incidents and their families first. Under the current legislation in the Road Traffic Act of 1988, blood samples can be taken without consent when someone is unconscious and has been involved in a fatal collision, however, the blood sample is not allowed to be tested unless that individual gives their consent.

Sharlotte-Sky Naglis
Sharlotte-Sky Naglis -Credit:Claire Reynolds

"Not only does this delay the police in conducting their investigation, more importantly, it prolongs the pain of victims who are desperately seeking answers. Claire has told me that her experience of this was like torture. For 11 weeks they waited not knowing whether John Owen would wake up and be held accountable for his crimes nor when they would get answers regarding what led to Charlotte's life being taken."

Mr Gullis also suggested that the current law could allow some criminals to receive a lesser sentence by refusing to have their blood sample, which is an offence punishable by up to two years in prison - a 'more serious aggravating factor' like drink-driving could see them jailed for longer.

He added: "Claire has been so brave and courageous and so daughter passed away. and it's a testament to her selflessness, strength and resilience that in spite of all that has happened, she is prepared to fight for justice and ensure no other family experiences the same fate."

More than 5,800 have signed a petition backing Sharlotte's Law, which also has the support of road safety charity Brake, the Campaign Against Drink Driving and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

MPs voted in favour of introducing the bill, which means it has now had its first reading - the first stage in the legislative process. The second reading is scheduled for June 14. While very few Ten Minute Rule Bills become law, MPs often use the procedure to bring attention to a particular issue, and sometimes this can lead to a change in the law.

Sharlotte's family welcomed the introduction of the bill. Mum Claire said: "Ever since my beautiful daughter passed away, I have been fighting to change the law so no other family suffers like we did. This law would save families from torture and put victims first.

"I hope this will raise awareness of 'Sharlotte’s Law' and I want to thank Jonathan and his team personally for helping me fight for justice."