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Telford driver who killed pensioner in crash has 'unduly lenient' sentence increased by three years

Telford | News | Published:

A drug-fuelled Telford driver who killed a pensioner and seriously injured his wife in a horrific road smash, has seen his "unduly lenient" sentence increased by three years.

Shaun Richard Freeman, 46, was under the influence of three types of drugs when he caused a head-on crash in Baschurch Road, Bomere Heath, near Shrewsbury, in November 2014.

The prolific criminal was driving too fast and was in the middle of the road when he struck a car driven by 78-year-old Leslie Dovaston.

Mr Dovaston suffered devastating injuries from which he died in January last year, while his wife Hazel was left with serious injuries.

Freeman left the scene but eventually admitted causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Shrewsbury Crown Court in December.

But yesterday, after a reference to the Court of Appeal by solicitor general Robert Buckland QC, the sentence was upped to seven-and-a-half years by top judges.

Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting with Mr Justice Jeremy Baker and Judge Paul Farrer QC, said the original sentence was "unduly lenient".

The court heard that Freeman, of Hurleybrook Way, had ignored "slow" signs as he approached a hump back bridge between Bomere Heath and Baschurch.

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The Renault Megane he was driving hit Mr Dovaston's car head-on, pushing it back into a wall.

The couple were rushed to hospital by air ambulance but Mr Dovaston's injuries were too severe and he died on January 7.

Mrs Dovaston sustained internal injuries and multiple fractures. Her mobility has been severely affected and she is not sure she will ever walk again unaided.

Freeman's case reached the Court of Appeal after Mr Buckland, one of the government's law officers, argued his sentence was far too soft.

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The case was aggravated by Freeman's excessive speed, his ignoring of road signs and the fact he left the scene.

When found, he lied about what happened, blaming a fictitious other driver, and was found to have diazepam, cocaine and methadone in his system.

Giving judgment, Lady Justice Rafferty said Mr Buckland's arguments were "unanswerable" by Freeman's legal team.

Before a reduction to reward his guilty plea, an appropriate sentence would have been 10 years, she said.

She concluded: 'The appropriate discount was in the region of 25 per cent which has the effect of reducing the term to seven-and-a-half years.'

Freeman appeared via a video link from prison but spoke only to confirm his name.

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