A reckless driver who killed a father-to-be while showing off behind the wheel to his girlfriend could be let out on day release - less than 12 months after he was jailed for five years.
Farm worker Joseph Weston (22) was jailed last July after Nottingham Crown Court was told how he was seen speeding up the A60 at Cuckney Hill ‘like lightning.’
Accident investigators said Weston, of Longdale Lane, Ravenshead, was doing 90mph when he lost control of his high-powered Ford Fiesta on a left-hand bend, smashing head-on into Luke Winter, of Nether Langwith, on 15th August 2012.
Now Mr Winter’s father, Geoff, told Chad he had been contacted by the National Probation Service to tell him that Weston may be released one day a week to help him ‘reintegrate back into the community.’
The Winter family were critical of Weston’s initial five-year jail term, and were left furious after it was reduced by eight months in February by judges at the Court of Appeal.
His driving ban was also cut from five to four years.
Speaking about the latest development, Mr Winter said: “It’s fundamentally wrong that someone can get killed as a result of somebody else’s actions, and for their death to be treated as insignificant.
“It’s not been a year yet and Joseph Weston is being rewarded yet again by the criminal justice system, as he has been every step of the way.
“The only thing they are interested in is getting him out of jail, and it’s just so unjust.
“As a family we are fundamentally opposed to this and we will continue to fight it because it is just wrong.”
At the time of Weston’s initial sentencing, Mr Winter told Chad that he and his family felt neither they, nor Luke, had received justice.
In a letter which Mr Winter read out personally to the court, he described his son as a friendly and compassionate person who loved animals.
He said: “When he came home he would walk into our kitchen and say ‘how you doing, parents?’ and dive into the fridge. When he was leaving he would always kiss me and say ‘see you pop.’
“Since 15th August last year we cry all the time and our stomachs are permanently knotted.
“I believe in my country and the justice system and appeal to you to make an example of this man. His family may cry but they will get him back.”
The Winter family’s agony was also prolonged by defence lawyers, who played a last-minute hand to try and persuade the court that Weston had been travelling at a lower speed, in a bid to get him a reduced sentence.
But lawyers were rounded on by Judge Michael Stokes QC, who criticised how relatives had been treated when the move caused further delays in sentencing.
Speaking last year, he said: “No consideration has been given to the family of the deceased at all. The Director of Public Prosecutions has stated that the victims of crime should be put at the centre of the criminal justice system.
“The law is supposed to support the interests of the victims and their families. If I was the father of Mr Winter I would be absolutely furious at the way in which this case has been handled. Don’t you dare say to me that you have put the victims at the centre of this case. The way this has been handled is a disgrace.”
It is not known when Weston’s day release will begin as the Prison Service said it would not comment on individual cases.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Prisoners can be granted temporary release to help them reintegrate back into the community but not at the cost of public safety.
“This year we placed significant restrictions on who is granted temporary release which from now on must be earned, tightened up monitoring arrangements and abolished any leave without a clear link to rehabilitation. All prisoners on temporary licence will also be tagged when the technology is available.”
DEATH CRASH: Pictured (from top) are the A60 at Cuckney Hill where the fatal crash occurred, Luke Winter and dangerous driver Joseph Weston.