Mum's upset over drink-driver's appeal

A mother has been left reeling after discovering the drink-driver responsible for a crash which killed her teenage daughter and four other people had lodged an appeal against the length of his jail sentence.

A mother has been left reeling after discovering the drink-driver responsible for a crash which killed her teenage daughter and four other people had lodged an appeal against the length of his jail sentence.

Angela Took, of Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, said she was angry and distressed by Ben Morphey's bid to have his 8½-year sentence cut, which will be heard at the Court of Appeal, in London, on November 30.

In June, Morphey, 23, was told he would have to serve half of his sentence in jail after admitting five counts of causing death by careless driving while unfit due to drink.

The crash, on the A12, near Blythburgh, in north Suffolk, claimed the lives of Mrs Took's 18-year-old daughter Carla, Lowestoft sisters Claire and Jenny Stoddart, aged 18 and 15 respectively, and two people in Morphey's car.

Mrs Took, 49, said: “I don't see how he could even think about appealing after causing a crash which killed five people and injured others. I think people will be outraged.

“No sentence will ever be long enough for me, but he was told he was only going to serve four years and three months, which is not even a year for each of the lives lost. He has a right to appeal, but none of the victims has.”

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Carla, Claire and Jenny, who had all been pupils at the Benjamin Britten High School in Lowestoft, had been to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert in Ipswich shortly before the crash.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Morphey, of High Street, Yoxford, had drunk a lot of alcohol in the hours leading up to the crash on July 1, 2006.

He was estimated to be nearly twice the legal drink-drive limit when his Renault Laguna veered across the road into the path of a Vauxhall Astra driven by Claire Stoddart.

Mrs Took, who is married to David and has another daughter, called Kerry, added: “There is a massive gap in our family, but I thought we could draw a line under it once he was in prison. We were trying to carry on, but then we received a phone call to be told he had appealed and we've got to go through it again.

“It has reopened it all and has brought back feelings of anger for me. I just hate injustice.”

Following their deaths, Carla and Claire's A-level results were released, revealing they were the top two female performers at Benjamin Britten High.

Phil Stoddart, the father of Claire and Jenny, said news of Morphey's appeal had come as a surprise, but added it was up to the legal system to deal with him.

Simon Bonner, 40, and Kim Abbott, 41, were passengers in Morphey's car and also died in the crash. Two youngsters in the car driven by Claire Stoddart were also injured.

Passing sentence in June, Judge Neil McKittrick told Morphey, an army aircraft technician, that he had been guilty of a “gross error of judgment” and also banned him from driving until 2017.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed Morphey had lodged his appeal.

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