In the Media

Fury at killer driver?s 'risible' sentence

PUBLISHED July 4, 2006

Victim?s family calls for changes to the law as hit-and-run motorist is banned for a year. 

A COURT erupted in fury yesterday after an electrician whose van hit and killed a 17-year-old girl walking home from a party was given a 100-hour community service order and banned from the road for a year.
Members of Natalie Glasgow?s family were outraged by the ?laughable? sentence and tried to attack Mark Hambleton, the defendant, before throwing water at his barrister after the hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court. 
Outside court Miss Glasgow?s father called Judge Rodger Hayward Smith, QC, an idiot and Essex Police, who investigated the tragedy, incompetent. Paul Glasgow, 45, a lorry driver of Loughton, Essex, also called for changes to the law and to the way in which the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) handles such cases.

The case comes as the CPS is preparing to begin a review of prosecution policy in cases where drivers kill. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, QC, is concerned to ensure that motorists do not walk free because prosecutors have not charged them with a sufficiently serious offence.

Miss Glasgow died in May last year after being hit as she walked at night along a narrow, winding country road near her home with her friend Stephanie Taylor, 16, who suffered serious head injuries.

When sentence was pronounced, Natalie?s mother, Tracey, 40, ran towards Hambleton in the dock screaming: ?You murdered my daughter.? Security guards had to hold back about 30 relatives of the two girls as they shouted ?Murdering bastard? and ?This is a disgrace ? this isn?t justice?. Hambleton wept as the scenes unfolded.

The two girls were hit at 11.40pm on May 1 as they walked home after a Kiss 100 FM music event at the King?s Oak pub in High Beach village, near their homes.

Natalie, a hairdressing student, was rushed to hospital but was so badly injured that she died the next morning. Stephanie was left for dead but recovered from her injuries.

Hambleton, 28, who lived in Debden, Essex, at the time of the incident but has moved to Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, was not charged with any offence in relation to the collision, but he admitted failing to stop at and report an accident, dangerous driving after the collision and possessing drugs.

Essex Police said yesterday that they had conducted a thorough investigation. A spokeswoman said that the Chief Constable, Roger Baker, would discuss issues with Natalie?s family if asked to do so.

Mr Glasgow said that evidence about Hambleton?s driving before the collision was not put before the court.

?They just wanted a quick result,? he said. ?I will be complaining to the chief constable.

?The law says it doesn?t matter whether you hit a teenage girl or a lamp-post in terms of the charge of failing to report an accident. That can?t be right. It must be changed. Hambleton didn?t hit a fence and drive away. He hit two young girls.?

Stephanie?s father, Bob Taylor, of Waltham Abbey, Essex, added: ?This just gives people a licence to hit people, then drive away and leave them.?

Inspector Richard Phillibrown, of Essex Police, said: ?We were very surprised that (Hambleton) did not receive a custodial sentence.?