The Herald

We’ve seen him in street. Why isn’t he spending longer in jail?

Family tells of torment after death driver released after three years

- HELENMCARD­LE

STACEY MULDOON was a young mother of two with her life ahead of her when she accepted a lift home from Robert Park in the early hours.

The shop assistant, 23, had been on a night out in Larkhall, Lanarkshir­e, with friends but wanted to head home early because she was working the next day.

While the rest of the group headed into Glasgow, she and another friend – who knew Park – headed home in his car to Stonehouse, just three miles away.

Minutes later, Park lost control of the vehicle on a straight road and slammed a lamppost. Stacey suffered fatal neck and chest injuries in the crash.

It later emerged that Park, then 21, had been more than two-and-ahalf times over the legal alcohol limit, had no licence, and was driving at up to 55mph in a 30mph zone. He had also taken diazepam.

Park admitted causing death by dangerous driving on July 9 2008 and was jailed for six years, but released after three.

Stacey’s sister, Leigh Payne, said the sentence devastated her parents, Stacey’s twin sister Kelly, and brother Craig, and she wants longer sentences to become the norm.

She said: “These people have done exactly the same as someone who used a knife or a gun, except they’ve used a car. It’s a weapon.

“It’ssofrustra­tingforusa­sa family to think that someone convicted of manslaught­er gets seven or eight years more than the chap who killed my sister.”

Her “heartbroke­n” mother, Jane – who brought up Stacey’s young daughters, aged just two and four at the time of the crash – also died in July this year, at just 64.

“She couldn’t cope that her daughter had gone before her,” said Leigh, 39. “And she couldn’t understand why Park was getting out early when we still didn’t have Stacey back. That was horrible for my mum – and my dad. He couldn’t really cope with it either and he became quite ill after it all. His kidney failed and he began developing dementia. We’ve had to put him in a home.

“It’s been so hard for Kelly too, because she lost her other half. Before we knew the circumstan­ces we felt sorry for [Park]. We didn’t know he was drunk. But when we heard all the aggravatin­g circumstan­ces behind it we thought ‘why isn’t he spending a lot longer in jail?’

“We’ve seen him in the street and it’s horrible. He is still a young man.

“Her two girls have lost two mums now, and yet Robert Park has no idea of the impact he’s caused. Maybe he’d have had time to reflect if he had a little longer in prison. Three years is nothing.”

‘‘ She couldn’t understand why Park was getting out early when we still didn’t have Stacey back. That was horrible

 ??  ?? LEIGH PAYNE: Lost her sister after drink driver’s car crashed and said her parents struggled to cope with their loss. Picture: Mark Mainz
LEIGH PAYNE: Lost her sister after drink driver’s car crashed and said her parents struggled to cope with their loss. Picture: Mark Mainz
 ??  ?? STACEY MULDOON: The mother left behind two young children.
STACEY MULDOON: The mother left behind two young children.
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