Judge condemned over sentence on car killer

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A JUDGE was accused of living on 'another planet' yesterday after sentencing a killer to four years' jail.

Police chiefs, relatives and road safety campaigners criticised Mr Justice Charles Mantell for the 'ridiculously lenient' sentence on Darren Blagrove, who admitted running down a woman with a car when she tried to prevent him escaping after a break-in at a house in Frenchay, Bristol, last year.

Bristol Crown Court was told he turned his getaway car into a weapon as 'deadly as a shotgun' and aimed for June Parkes and her son Steven, 19. Mrs Parkes, 51, a Neighbourhood Watch member, was thrown into the air and died almost instantly. Steven suffered a double fracture to his right leg. Blagrove, 23, of Eastville, Bristol, denied murder but admitted manslaughter.

Yesterday Mrs Parkes' husband, Roy Parkes, said: 'Four years for my wife's life - it's totally inadequate. She was a pearl in our oyster.

'The oyster is still there but the pearl has gone. I don't think the judges in courts like this live on the same planet as the rest of us.'