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Death crash driver's sentence 'an insult'

"IT HAS made us feel that Andrew was not worth anything." This was the reaction of mother Sheila Hayden after the driver who collided with her son's Yamaha motorbike was jailed for just two years.

Andrew Howe, 41, was killed instantly in Bexhill last August when Michael Thompson's car crashed in to him on the A259.

Mrs Hayden, of Tutt Hill, Westwell, near Ashford, said the family's reaction to the verdict was pure disbelief. "I don't feel justice has been done," she said. "It wasn't anything to do with Andrew. He was just driving home."

Thompson, from Hastings, was sentenced to two years in prison at Hove Crown Court after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

He was attempting to overtake another motorist, who had cut him up a few minutes earlier at traffic lights, when he crashed in to Mr Howe who was travelling in the opposite direction.

Mrs Hayden said: "It's an insult. I cannot believe that is all he got. I don't know what to say. We weren't expecting the maximum, we knew it wasn't going to be high, but we were hoping it would be five years. When he (the judge) said two years we just sat there and went numb."

Andrew and his wife Gill lived in Hastings where he ran a cleaning and hygiene business. He had been a pupil at Hothfield Primary School and the North School in Ashford.

Sarah Thorne, prosecuting, said Thompson became angry and agitated when the driver of a Mazda had cut in front of him.

Witnesses told how the two cars sped away from traffic lights at speeds estimated to be up to 70mph. As Thompson, who was driving a Honda, attempted to overtake the Mazda he crashed into Mr Howe.

Thompson's car ended up in bushes and he was seriously injured - spending time in a coma, breaking his pelvis and suffering head injuries. But Mrs Hayden said: "He suffered injuries, but he did it - he did it to himself."

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