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MEOPHAM: Parents of car crash victim say driver's jail sentence not long enough
THE parents of a teenager who died after a car crash say the jail term given to the driver is not long enough.
Sophia Edwards, of Dean Lane, Meopham, died on January 1 at the age of 17.
This was after a car she was a passenger in crashed into a bus stop in Bexley Road, Eltham, in the early hours of the morning.
The driver, 22-year-old Jamie Murphy, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday (Nov 13) after pleading guilty to death by dangerous driving.
The court heard Murphy, of Blackfen Road in Blackfen, had been driving at 72mph in a 30mph zone when he lost control of his Ford Fiesta and hit the bus stop.
After the sentencing, Sophia’s stepfather Adam Chidley, 43, said: “I do not think he has been given long enough in prison. What’s long enough for a life?
“We have to wake up every morning and find she is not there. If he had got 50 years it would not have been long enough.”
“She was a 17-year-old beautiful girl who had everything in front of her.”
Sophia’s mother, Diana, 42, said: “We’re the ones who have been given a life sentence.”
After the crash, Sophia was taken to King’s College Hospital in London with serious head injuries. She died 14 hours later.
Murphy suffered injuries to his collarbone and neck in the crash, but made a full recovery.
Another passenger, an 18-year-old man, suffered minor cuts and bruises.
Prosecutor Mark Paltenghi told Woolwich Crown Court when the crash happened the three had been on their way to a nightclub in Butterfly Lane, Eltham.
Sophia was sitting alone in the back seat.
Mr Paltenghi said: “Having lost control of the vehicle and crossed into the opposite carriageway and crashed with the bus shelter, the vehicle spun and ejected Sophia through the back window into an adjacent garden.”
He added on the night of the crash the road was not icy or damp and was well lit, and Murphy’s vehicle was in good condition.
David Tomlinson, mitigating for Murphy, said: “He acknowledges the primary cause of this tragedy was the excessive speed at which the car was being driven.”
He added Murphy had not been drinking or taking drugs and “it was a moment or two of bad driving as opposed to prolonged bad driving”.
Mr Tomlinson said Murphy had expressed remorse for his actions and his sorrow for Sophia’s death and her family’s grief.
Judge Michael Carroll told Murphy he would have to serve at least half of the prison sentence and would be banned from driving for four years.
Sophia leaves behind two sisters, Olivia, 11, and Georgia, 21, and 18-year-old brother Jak.
She was in her second year studying art and fashion design at North West Kent College, and dreamed of launching her own fashion label called Sophia’s Choice.