§ Mr. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)
I have the honour to present to the House a petition from the parents and family of Donna Cooper.
Donna was the innocent victim of a particularly mindless crime. She was killed by a stolen car driven recklessly by a person who had been released on bail the previous day. Her death at the tragically early age of 13 outraged the whole nation as well as her local community and helped to concentrate attention on the vital need to amend the law.
I must pay tribute to Donna's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Cooper, her brother and sister, her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Hayward, and all their family and friends and those who have worked so enormously hard to raise the petition, which has been signed by 273,000 people.
I would also like to thank the Home Secretary for finding the time personally to receive from Mr. and Mrs. Cooper a petition raised by our local newspaper, the Evening Mail, containing more than 70,000 signatures. The petition reads:
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House urgently consider the need to increase the powers of the Courts given in the Aggravated Vehicle Taking Act 1992 as two years imprisonment (five if the injury is fatal) to better reflect the loss of a human life. Sentencing should be also punitive and exemplary.
§ To lie upon the Table.