The mother of a South Yorkshire teenager killed in a horror crash today revealed she has come face-to-face with her son’s killer.
Jamie West, aged 15, of Mexborough, and his dad Stephen Ramsell, 37, of, Bentley, Doncaster, died after a silver Subaru Impreza in which they were travelling hit a wall and road sign on Cusworth Lane, near Cusworth Hall, in August 2014.
Jamie’s mother Sarah West met the car’s 28-year-old driver, David Etherington, from Shafton, Barnsley, who admitted death by dangerous driving and was jailed for six years and eight months.
The 36-year-old said the meeting at Lindholme Prison, in Doncaster, was the ‘last piece of the jigsaw’ and enabled her to get the answers she desperately wanted about the crash.
Sarah spoke about her experience during Restorative Justice Week and is encouraging other victims to consider getting involved.
Father-of-three Everington was overcome with emotion and apologised to her for her son’s death.
He told her everyone in the car was urging him to go faster and he did because he wanted to make them happy.
READ ETHERINGTON’S STORY
Sarah told him she wanted him to be able to move on with his life and look after his children.
She said: “I asked to see him. This was the last piece of the jigsaw that I needed to do.
“I wanted answers. I didn’t know the person responsible and I didn’t know what happened that night.
“I was in court for the sentencing but you still don’t get the answers you need and find out what kind of person he is. It’s all lawyers talking.
“We had a really open conversation.
“From going to see him I got information about why there were other people in the car, why they were showing off and what type of person he was.
“He is a family man with three children and he just made a really bad mistake at that time.”
Since its launch in June, South Yorkshire Restorative Justice hub has processed 1,342 cases for initial contact, 245 of which are still live, and to date there has been six face-to-face meetings and 15 written communications.
Remedi, South Yorkshire’s restorative justice provider, assesses each case for suitability after a victim asks to meet the offender.
The meeting can take place in the prison or at an agreed location.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “When a crime is committed, many victims feel it was personal, that they are still unsafe and sometimes they were to blame. By having to opportunity to speak to those who have committed the crime, they will find this is very often not the case.”
n Visit www.restorativesouthyorkshire.co.uk call the helpline on 0800 561 1000 or text SYRJ to 82055.