Tough message for drink drivers

Merseyside Police to tackle dangerous drivers in May

Six year old Demi Leigh Royle was killed when she was struck by 25-year-old Ross Robinson on May 16, 2008.

Demi's mum, Paula Roberts, is now a campaigner to help prevent road deaths and is currently fundraising for 'Aftermath Support' who are based in Bromborough.

Paula, aged 34, from Parr Brook, said: "People need to think about the consequences of drink driving all year around and not just at Christmas.

"The loss of Demi at first made me numb and every day life is still very hard. Ross Robinson not only took my child away from me but our every day life together as well as the milestones in her life - holy communion, marriage, children. And now instead of celebrating her birthday with her we have birthday memoriums.

"Demi got a death sentence but her family got a life sentence. My other children keep me going but when I have to watch Demi's younger brothers in the same play as she was, singing the same songs that she did, it is very difficult.

"I urge anyone thinking of drink driving or anyone who sees their friends drink driving to remember that it wrecks lives."

Demi, a former pupil at St Columba's Catholic Primary School, was walking along the pavement near to her home with a friend's mum when Robinson careered onto the pavement in his van after taking the corner too quickly. Demi was killed instantly.

Robinson was sentenced to nine years in jail for causing death by dangerous driving and driving after consuming excessive alcohol. This sentence was reduced on appeal last year to eight years.

Each May, Merseyside Police sees an increase in the number of casualties among child pedestrians, cyclists aged between 11 to 16, drivers and passengers in motor vehicles and motorcyclists (which continues to rise in June).

Since 2006, 221 people have been either killed or seriously injured on the roads of Merseyside during May, compared with 185 in April and 197 in June. Last May, 59 people were killed or seriously injured compared with 46 in April and 36 in June.

Half of all those killed or who have sustained life-changing injuries are drivers and passengers in cars, with 41 per cent of those being young people aged between 17 and 25.

Chief Inspector Chris Markey, from Merseyside Police's Roads Policing Unit, said: "The number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads of Merseyside comes at a huge cost in terms of human tragedy and financial impact.

"Drink and drug driving is a significant contributory factor in these accidents, especially among the under 25s. Even a momentary lapse in concentration can result in catastrophic consequences for not just themselves but for their passengers, who are often their close friends, as well as other innocent victims who could be left severely maimed or at worse killed.

"With the onset of the warmer weather and with the two bank holidays in May, motorists and pedestrians need to take extra care while out on the roads of Merseyside. Even the smallest amount of alcohol will effect your competence behind the wheel, your ability to judge speed and distance and will slow down your reactions.

"The harsh reality is a careless or reckless driver can potentially destroy the lives of everyone touched by their actions - from the victim and their loved ones to the driver themselves and their families.

"We are determined to reduce the number of lives ruined by these drivers who face severe penalties ranging from hefty fines to lengthy prison sentences if they are caught."

In an effort to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads of Merseyside, officers are holding eight spotlight days in May targeting motorists flouting the driving laws and educating those caught breaking the rules of the road.

During these days, there will be a high visibility of officers on key roads across Merseyside taking action against people driving in illegal manners.

Chf Insp Markey added: "The size and scale of our campaign shows our determination to tackle these issues and drive down road deaths. We will continue to prosecute offenders who are prepared to flout the law, putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk."