Teen drug driver spared jail de­spite trail of chaos

Mum whose son was nearly crushed hits out at ‘le­niency’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - By Vicky Cas­tle

A drug driver from Ken­ning­ton has been spared jail af­ter lead­ing po­lice on a chase through res­i­den­tial roads be­fore fi­nally plough­ing into an on­com­ing car.

Ji Lawrence, 18, of Dud­ley Road, left a trail of chaos in the night­mare crash in Faver­sham Road in Au­gust last year.

The then-17-year-old drove his sil­ver MG ZR through Ken­ning­ton, de­spite hav­ing cannabis in his sys­tem and not hav­ing passed his driv­ing test.

He was fol­lowed by po­lice but failed to stop at a junc­tion and smashed into an on­com­ing BMW.

Ap­pear­ing at Folke­stone Mag­is­trates’ Court on Jan­uary 11, Lawrence pleaded guilty to driv­ing with no in­sur­ance, with­out a valid li­cence, fail­ing to stop for po­lice, driv­ing with cannabis in his sys­tem and dan­ger­ous driv­ing.

He was sen­tenced last Thurs­day to 26 weeks in prison, sus­pended for 24 months,.

Mag­is­trates also banned him from driv­ing for 12 months, or­dered him to carry out 150 hours of un­paid work in the next 12 months and to pay a to­tal of £265.

But one mother says the sen­tence is too le­nient.

Maria Aitken, whose sev­enyear-old-son Dy­lan was nearly crushed against a tree in the in­ci­dent, has crit­i­cised the out­come.

She said: “Twenty-six weeks is ridicu­lous. I re­ally don’t think that’s enough.

“I’m quite sur­prised with the re­sult, par­tic­u­larly be­cause of the fact that he ad­mit­ted all the charges and he still has only been given a sus­pended sen­tence.”

Miss Aitken de­scribed the mo­ment when she could only look on in ter­ror as she watched Lawrence’s out-of-con­trol car smash into a tree where her son had been stand­ing.

She said: “I just kept think­ing ‘oh my God, he was hit and squashed against that tree’.

“It was beyond aw­ful. I went into a panic and just kept say­ing ‘oh my God’.

“The last­ing dam­age to the vic­tims clearly has not been taken into con­sid­er­a­tion at all.

“I have no idea what the other fam­ily think but I’m sure they would feel the same.

“My son still won’t talk about it. He’s still ob­vi­ously very af­fected.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate that our pris­ons are full to the brim and judges will only sen­tence some­body to prison if they re­ally have to, but I do not think his sen­tence is enough.

“It just seems a bit too le­nient, but I would say that be­cause I’m the mother of a child he nearly crushed and my view would be any sen­tence is too le­nient.

“I guess he is just go­ing to go off and do his own thing now.”

Maria Aitken with her daugh­ter Si­enna, five, and son Dy­lan, seven

Ji Lawrence whose sil­ver MG crashed in Faver­sham Road, Ash­ford, as he at­tempted to get away from po­lice

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