AN unlicensed motorist who fatally struck a father and his son in a hit-and-run has become the first Barnsley man to be jailed since a law change - prompted by a local family and their MP - came into force.

Judges presiding over death by dangerous driving cases can now hand out life tariffs to those responsible after a previous 14-year limit was axed, partly thanks to the family of Jacqueline Wileman - who was killed in Brierley - and Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock.

Paul Yates, of Manor Road in Cudworth, was set to receive an 18-year sentence for killing Dean Jones, 45, and his 16-year-old son Lewis Daines who were cycling in January last year.

However, Yates was given a reduction to 12 years at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday thanks to his early guilty plea - despite eyewitnesses seeing the 36-year-old get out of his car following the collision before driving off.

Jacqueline’s killers - David Mellor, Wayne Carroll, Alan Mawhinney and unlicensed driver Karn Hill - were sentenced by Judge Jeremy Richardson KC, who also jailed Yates.

Ms Peacock, who campaigned for the law change in Parliament, told the Chronicle: “It is absolutely right that judges have the option to implement harsher sentences to stop criminals from getting away with causing harm through dangerous driving.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of Dean Jones and Lewis Daines, who were tragically killed due to Paul Yates’ dangerous driving.

“Monday’s case was the first for death by dangerous driving in the area since the change in the law I called for alongside Johnny Wood from Grimethorpe who campaigned for change having sadly lost his sister, Jacqueline Wileman, who was tragically killed by four men driving a stolen HGV.

In Text Promo Image

“The change means that judges are able to give out life sentences for the crime, rather than the previous limit of 14 years.

“Yates’ sentence was reduced to 12 years after his guilty plea, but the original sentence given was 18 years, which would have made effective use of the legislative change.

“Though it does not bring back the loved ones sadly lost, I hope that this change in law brings those suffering some small comfort to know that those responsible can be held accountable for their actions and judges can give out harsher sentences.”

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP) praised the law change.

They said: “These changes for causing death by dangerous and careless driving mean that courts can sentence offenders to life rather than the previous maximum of 14 years in prison.

“No-one can take away the pain, grief and suffering cause by road traffic collisions which is why we continue to work together to educate people about the risks and consequences of dangerous road users’ behaviour.”

* Full story: page nine.