Call for tougher sen­tences

Pilbara News - - News - Grant Taylor

A Ger­ald­ton fam­ily who lost their son in one of WA’s most shock­ing dan­ger­ous driv­ing cases has added their voice to the call for tougher sen­tences for those who kill on the State’s roads.

Tony Ken­twell de­scribed the nine-year jail term handed to the drunk and speed­ing driver who left his son Coen and two of his friends to burn to death in their car as “dis­gust­ing” and fur­ther proof a re­think of penal­ties was needed.

Mr Ken­twell has never spo­ken pub­licly about his son’s death but broke his si­lence last week to sup­port fel­low griev­ing fa­ther Wayne Pemberton, who called for ac­tion af­ter learn­ing the man who killed his daugh­ter Char­lotte would spend just two years be­hind bars.

“We are the ones who now have to serve the life sen­tence, but these driv­ers get al­most noth­ing,” Mr Ken­twell said. “Not a day goes by that I do not think about my son.”

Coen Ken­twell, 27, Felic­ity Pal­lett, 23, and Michael Hook, 31, were in­cin­er­ated in Au­gust 2015 when a car driven at 165km/h in a 90km/h zone by Ger­ald­ton man Amiel Tit­tums slammed into the back of their ve­hi­cle.

Tit­tums had a blood al­co­hol level of 0.136 at the time of the crash and did noth­ing to help his three vic­tims, who were trapped in­side their burn­ing ve­hi­cle. In­stead, he walked home to have a shower be­fore go­ing to bed.

When po­lice ar­rived on his doorstep the next morn­ing, he lied by telling them some­one must have taken his car.

In De­cem­ber, the sen­tenc­ing judge de­scribed the case as be­ing “at the up­per end of se­ri­ous­ness for of­fences of this kind” but Tit­tums re­ceived less than half the 20-year max­i­mum penalty and could be out on pa­role in seven years.

“That works out to two years and four months in jail for each life that he took,” Mr Ken­twell said.

“The (post-mortem) re­port showed my son died from smoke in­hala­tion, so he was still alive as that car was burn­ing.

“I just can’t get that out of my head.”

The State Gov­ern­ment has agreed to re­view the penal­ties for dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing death af­ter both the Premier and the Po­lice Min­is­ter ad­mit­ted they were shocked last week by the penalty handed down to the man con­victed of killing Char­lotte Pemberton.

Rebels bikie Dy­lan James Adams was trav­el­ling at 100km/h in a 60km/h zone with­out a li­cence when his mo­tor­cy­cle hit a car in which Ms Pemberton was a pas­sen­ger at an in­ter­sec­tion in For­rest­field. De­spite having a shock­ing driv­ing record, he was jailed for four years and three months, and could be out in just over two years if granted pa­role.

Tony Ken­twell with Coen's aunt Kim-Ma­ree Kelly and grand­mother Diana Ben­nett.

Pic­ture: Face­book

Felic­ity Pal­lett was killed in a 2015 car ac­ci­dent.

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