'The justice system has failed us': Tracey Wilson's family slam sentence for driver who killed her
PUBLISHED: 16:09 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:25 03 January 2020
Heartbroken relatives of an Islington teacher killed by a van say the justice system has failed them, after the driver avoided an immediate prison term.
Veteran Paul Austin, 56, of Stotfold, Hitchin, was given a suspended two-year sentence with a 20-day rehabilitation requirement, plus 200 hours of community service and a 10-year driving ban.
He was sentenced for causing death by careless driving at the Old Bailey on January 2, having pleaded guilty to the same charge at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court earlier this month.
Tracey's family say they are furious he will not serve time behind bars.
After the sentencing, her sister Lorraine told this paper: "Sadly, [Tracey's son] Courtney and the family are so shocked and saddened at the outcome today at the Old Bailey on how the justice system has terribly failed us today.
"We prayed that we would get the justice that Tracey so certainly deserves and it never happened. We have lost our beautiful Tracey.
"Thank you to all of Tracey's friends that still continue to support us, it means so much."
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Austin was working as a delivery driver when he jumped a red light in Hornsey High Street and hit Tracey Wilson, a 55-year-old woman who lived in Birkbeck Road and was "still in her prime".
The much-loved child protection officer, at City of London Academy Islington, died of head injuries in hospital two days later.
In his sentencing remarks, judge John Hillen said: "This was a 55-year-old mother, granddaughter, mother, sister, daughter and friend, described as the rock of her family.
"She's irreplaceable, no sentence can bring Tracey back. Nothing that can be said or done by this court can ease the grief of her family.
"No one who has heard what Lorraine Wilson has said [in her victim impact statement read out in court] can be but moved by the family's loss, they are suffering a life sentence.
"Undoubtedly, and understandably in this case, the family of the deceased look for punishment of the person who caused their pain."
But he said Austin's conduct amounted to careless driving and there was "no deliberate action" taken to harm Tracey, rather a "failure to drive with due care and consideration".
He said Austin's remorse and the fact he entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity were both mitigating factors.
Last month, the Gazette reported on the case of 92-year-old John Savile, who was badly injured by a hit-and-run moped driver - and was left incredulous after the perpetrator walked free from court with a community order and a £300 fine for driving without due care.