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  1. ITV Report

Soham family calls for tougher sentences for drink drivers

  • Click below to watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Emily Knight

The family of a young beauty therapist from Soham in Cambridgeshire who was killed by a drink driver travelling at speeds of up to 124 miles-per-hour on the A11 in Suffolk is calling for tougher sentences for driving offences.

22-year-old Lauren Danks was on her way home from work when her car was struck from behind by 64-year-old Nelson Curtis from Lakenheath.

Lauren enjoyed going to music festivals Credit: family photo

Curtis had been reaching speeds of up to 124 mph and had consumed ten pints of beer that night. After the crash, he fled the scene, driving along the A11 with just three wheels on his car.

Last month he was jailed for causing death by dangerous driving. His sentence was seven years.

"He [Nelson Curtis] will be out in three and a half years, how can anybody say to us that Lauren's life is worth three and a half years, or anybody. To get in a car, to drive at high speed, to drink 10 pints, it ticks every box of doing things wrong that evening."

– Claire and Robert Danks, Lauren's parents
Lauren celebrating her 18th Birthday Credit: Family photo

"Curtis Nelson was drinking all day in a pub in Lakenheath. We know he consumed ten pints of beer. He got into his jag and drove towards Newmarket on the A11. During that journey he was driving at 124mph before striking Lauren in her car. That catapulted Lauren into a sign and off the road and she sadly ended up in a ditch and she died instantly. Witnesses said that he could barely walk so you can only imagine how that translated to his ability to drive. So it was almost inevitable that someone was going to get hurt or killed and sadly it was Lauren in this case."

– Chief Inspector David Giles, Suffolk Police
A Tree has been planted and a memorial plaque has been placed at Center Parcs where Lauren worked as a senior Beauty Therapist Credit: family photo
  • Watch the reaction of the AA's Edmund King to reaction to the sentence

The Ministry of Justice told ITV News Anglia that drivers who 'kill and ruin lives must face the full force of the law.' and that while 'we can never compensate for the loss of a loved one, we are clear that the punishment must fit the crime.'

“Last year the Government issued a consultation that will see the maximum sentence in this area increase from 14 years to life. We are now considering the consultation responses. Any announcement will be made in due course."

– Ministry of Justice Spokesperson
Lauren's family recently marked what would have been her 23rd Birthday. Credit: family photo

"She was a beautiful person, she really was and anybody you spoke to would say the same. I mean I know every mum thinks their child is wonderful, but she truly was. She was my best friend. I feel very privileged to have spent so much time with her although I feel robbed that I haven't spent enough time with her."

– Claire and Robert Danks, Lauren's parents