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Family of dad and daughter killed by careless driver call for tougher sentences

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The devastated family of a father and daughter who were killed by a careless driver who avoided a jail term have launched a campaign for tougher sentences.

Valentino Coleman, 49, and daughter Olivia, 21, were killed when a Mercedes Sprinter van ploughed into their car and catapulted them into the air in October 2017.

They were answering a cry for help from Valentino’s other daughter Grace, who had broken down with a flat tyre.

Collect of Valentino Coleman, 49, and Olivia Coleman, 21.The grieving family of a father and daughter killed in a horror crash are fighting for tougher sentencing for death by careless driving.See National News story NNpetition..The grieving family of a father and daughter killed in a horror crash are fighting for tougher sentencing for death by careless driving.Valentino Coleman, 49, died with his daughter Olivia, 21, when a Mercedes Sprinter van ploughed into their stationary car and catapulted them into the air.John Sharp said his family are suffering 'a life sentence' after his only son-in-law and granddaughter were killed in the tragic crash - while driver Sivananthan Mathivathanan was able to 'go home to his family.'Shop owner Mathivathanan was handed a ten-month sentence, suspended for two years, and a three-year driving ban following the crash in Thanet, Kent, in October 2017.
Valentino Coleman, 49, and daughter Olivia, 21, were killed when a Mercedes Sprinter van ploughed into their car and catapulted them into the air (Picture: John Sharp /SWNS)

They were waiting with with a recovery vehicle on Thanet Way, East Kent, when Sivananthan Mathivathanan smashed into them.

Both vehicles had their hazard lights flashing at the time of the crash.

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John Sharp, 71, has now said his family are suffering ‘a life sentence’ after his son-in-law and granddaughter were killed while Mathivathanan was able to ‘go home to his family.’

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The shop owner was handed a ten-month sentence, suspended for two years, and banned from the road for three years following the crash after admitting to careless driving.

Mr Sharp said his family ‘do not feel that justice has been done’ and have launched a petition calling for tougher sentencing for death by dangerous or careless driving.

Collect of Olivia Coleman, 21.The grieving family of a father and daughter killed in a horror crash are fighting for tougher sentencing for death by careless driving.See National News story NNpetition..The grieving family of a father and daughter killed in a horror crash are fighting for tougher sentencing for death by careless driving.Valentino Coleman, 49, died with his daughter Olivia, 21, when a Mercedes Sprinter van ploughed into their stationary car and catapulted them into the air.John Sharp said his family are suffering 'a life sentence' after his only son-in-law and granddaughter were killed in the tragic crash - while driver Sivananthan Mathivathanan was able to 'go home to his family.'Shop owner Mathivathanan was handed a ten-month sentence, suspended for two years, and a three-year driving ban following the crash in Thanet, Kent, in October 2017.
Their killer walked free from court with a suspended sentence (Picture: John Sharp /SWNS)

He said said: ‘For us, we have got a life sentence and he has walked away.

‘There’s probably not a day in his life that has particularly changed, whereas for us, every day has been life-changing.

The property in Clifton, Bristol where Benedict Thomas was living before his death. See SWNS copy SWBRplanning: A father-of-four stepped in front of a train after suffering mental deterioration caused by the stress of refurbishing his ??1.8m Grade II-Listed home, an inquest heard. Benedict Thomas, 53, was killed when he was hit by the high-speed locomotive after telling psychiatric hospital staff he was meeting his wife. Affectionately known as Benny, the dad had been an inpatient at The Priory mental health clinic in Bristol from November 24, 2017, until the time of his death.Dad killed himself from stress of refurbishing £1,800,000 Grade II-listed home

‘You hear it on a daily basis, on the radio, on the television and the internet about all these stories about low sentencing, and we just think something needs to be done about it.

‘What we have been through as a family for the last 15 months or so is just indescribable, and I certainly wouldn’t want anybody else to have to go through what we’ve had to go through.

‘For us as a family to not get any recognition at all about how were feeling, it was all about the accused – his mental health issues because of the accident, that’s nothing compared to what our family has had to suffer.

Collect of Valentino Coleman, 49, and Olivia Coleman, 21.The grieving family of a father and daughter killed in a horror crash are fighting for tougher sentencing for death by careless driving.See National News story NNpetition..The grieving family of a father and daughter killed in a horror crash are fighting for tougher sentencing for death by careless driving.Valentino Coleman, 49, died with his daughter Olivia, 21, when a Mercedes Sprinter van ploughed into their stationary car and catapulted them into the air.John Sharp said his family are suffering 'a life sentence' after his only son-in-law and granddaughter were killed in the tragic crash - while driver Sivananthan Mathivathanan was able to 'go home to his family.'Shop owner Mathivathanan was handed a ten-month sentence, suspended for two years, and a three-year driving ban following the crash in Thanet, Kent, in October 2017.
Now their family are calling for tougher sentences (Picture: John Sharp /SWNS)

‘We just think something needs to be done about it.

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‘The impact on Grace, who was at the accident, and the trauma she has had to go through in the aftermath of the accident, is a horrendous thing.

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‘For us as a family to not get any recognition at all about how were feeling, it was all about the accused – his mental health issues because of the accident, that’s nothing compared to what our family has had to suffer.

‘With the petition, we certainly need to see the law changed and tougher sentencing, and the victims need to have some sort of say.’

Before his death, Mr Coleman had built up a successful hairdressing business in Maidstone and been married to wife Nicola for 23 years.

After discovering Mathivathanan lived near to her family home she was forced to sell her home and move as she was so traumatised by the loss of her husband.

If you wish to sign the petition please click here.

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