Killer ‘thankful’ to explain actions to victim’s mother

Sarah West
Sarah West

A killer who came face-to-face with the mother of a teenager who died after the car he was driving crashed is ‘thankful’ he got the chance to explain his actions to her.

David Etherington was jailed for six years and eight months in February after admitting causing the deaths of Jamie West, aged 15, of Mexborough, and his dad Stephen Ramsell, 37, of, Bentley, Doncaster, by driving dangerously.

The 28-year-old of Shafton, Barnsley, had been driving a Subaru Impreza when it hit a wall and road sign on Cusworth Lane, near Cusworth Hall, in August 2014.

Etherington met with Sarah West, Jamie’s mother, at Lindholme Prison in Doncaster, in September after she asked to meet him as part of the restorative justice scheme.

Sarah asked to take part in the scheme because she had some unanswered questions that only Etherington could answer.

Etherington tearfully apologised for his actions and Sarah said the meeting was ‘the last piece of the jigsaw’.

READ SARAH’S STORY

Mum meets son’s killer

Etherington said: “I was aware of restorative justice from television which was before I came to prison.

“Not long after coming to prison I received a leaflet. After reading it, I felt that for me, it was something I wanted to do for the family of my victim.

“I know I can’t change what I have done or make it better, but, this is something that I thought I could do that could be of help to the family.

“The thought of actually meeting my victim’s mum and sitting in front of her knowing what I have done and the effects that my actions have had on her and her family made me very anxious, but I knew this was something I needed to do.

“Once the meeting started I felt a little more comfortable but felt very emotional at the same time, but I was very thankful that I had the opportunity to be able to say what I needed to say and to answer any of Sarah’s questions in the hope of being able to help her understand what had happened and how things had happened, hoping it would give her the answers she needed.

“I am very happy that I had the opportunity to take part in restorative justice.

“I hope that Sarah got out of it what she needed and that it has helped her in some way.

“I think restorative justice is a great thing and could benefit many people, both victims and offenders.

“For victims it can give them the chance to ask questions and for offenders it can make them realise what they have done.”

Since its launch in June, the South Yorkshire Restorative Justice hub has processed 1,342 cases for initial contact, 245 of which are currently live, and to date there has been six face-to-face meetings and 15 written communications.

n To find out more about the scheme visit www.restorativesouthyorkshire.co.uk call the helpline on 0800 561 1000 or text SYRJ to 82055.