Victim’s mum forgives drink-driver, sends Christmas cards

Published: March 1, 2007 | 5659th good news item since 2003

The mother of a road crash victim killed by a drink driver sent the man who cost her daughter her life a Christmas card in prison.

Sylvia France’s daughter Sharon Hewer, 38, of Hobart Close, Worthing, died when Luke Quinell’s van ploughed into the Mazda she was sitting in.

The Mazda had been in a minor accident with a Honda moments before being hit by Quinell’s VW Transporter and was stationary across the two lanes of the A27 outside the Coach and Horses at Salvington, near Worthing on December 22, 2005.

Quinell, of Grafton Street, Portsmouth, was more than twice over the limit and on his way back from a Christmas party and failed to spot the vehicle.

Ms Hewer and her friends, driver Clive Hancock, 37, from Billingshurst, and Ivor Bingham, 39, from Sherbourne, Dorset, were killed instantly.

Quinell pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and was jailed for six years and banned from the roads for ten years.

Earlier this month the Court of Appeal reduced the jail term to five years and cut his driving ban in half, to five years.

But Mrs France said she feels no anger or bitterness towards 24-year-old Quinell.

She said: “From what I know Luke Quinell is a good man. I’ve never met him but people who have tell me he is utterly full of remorse.

“He didn’t get behind the wheel of his van knowing he was going to take three lives.

“He has to live with that decision for the rest of his life so it really does not matter how long his prison sentence is.

“I wrote him this Christmas and sent him a card to tell him he wasn’t 100 per cent at fault and we felt no animosity towards him.

“I also told him how Sharon’s four children are doing because, as a parent himself, I thought he might be worried about them.

“He wrote back to tell me how grateful he was to have received my letter and to say how relieved he was to hear about her children as he had been worrying about them a lot.

“He even said that on the anniversary of the accident he had gone to the prison chapel and lit three candles for the lives he had taken.”

Clive Hancock’s mother, Eva Turner, 69, of Cleve Way, Billingshurst, has also forgiven Mr Quinell.

She said: “Mr Quinell did not arm himself with a knife or a gun and go out with the sole intention of killing people.”

Published in Values
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