THE grieving brother of a woman who was fatally struck by a stolen HGV and is campaigning for tougher sentences for those who cause death by dangerous driving is in the running for a Proud of Barnsley award.
Johnny Wood, of Cudworth, has been very vocal after his sister, Jacqueline Wileman, 58, was killed when walking on Common Road, Brierley.
David Mellor, of Bank End Road, Worsbrough Dale, was employed by Barnsley-based City Freight Services and held the HGV to ransom, claiming he was owed two-and-a-half weeks’ wages.
It was being driven by unlicensed Karn Hill and carrying Wayne Carroll, Alan Mawhinney and Mellor when it failed to negotiate a left-hand corner and careered into Jacqueline. All four men were convicted for causing death by dangerous driving and received between ten-and-a-half and 13 years in prison.
However, Jacqueline’s brother Johnny said the sentences given to all defendants in the case was ‘not enough’.
The 61-year-old is now campaigning for tougher sentences and has so far met with the Justice Minister and is also liaising with Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock.
“We as a family were let down because of lack of police funding in Barnsley and lack of staff,” said Johnny. “If there had been more officers the stolen lorry could have been picked up and her death prevented.
“There have been many let downs. We just want criminals who do horrendous things like this to get the maximum sentence.
An internal review has also been launched by the Probation Service as David Mellor, 48, was under its supervision when he stole the lorry, and had already clocked up dozens of offences.
Speaking in Parliament on the matter, Stephanie Peacock, who was praised by Johnny for her support of the family said: “It can be argued that these men should not have been on the streets and able to commit these tragic crimes in the first place.”
Ms Peacock has also met the family in Parliament.
She said: “Jacqueline’s family feel like the justice system has let them down at every opportunity, and a meeting in Westminster was a vital opportunity for them to have their say to the very person who can make the long overdue changes.
“The minister appeared sincere in his pledge to gather more answers that Johnny and his family urgently need surrounding the circumstances of Jacqueline’s death and the punishment of those responsible.
“But sadly, the government could not confirm when they would be increasing the maximum sentence, meaning we will have to wait even longer for action the government promised in 2017, and to me, as recently as April.
“I was pleased to secure this meeting and the further commitments from the Justice Minister for Jacqueline’s family, but I will continue our campaign on longer sentences to make sure nobody else has to go through what Jacqueline’s family have.”
Johnny Wood is a finalist for the Triumph Over Adversity award.