Durham A1 lorry driver who killed three people will not have eight year jail sentence reviewed

Ion Onut - Durham Police
Ion Onut was jailed for eight years and 10 months in January at Durham Crown Court. Credit: Durham Police

The eight-year sentence handed to a lorry driver who killed three people in a crash on the A1 in County Durham will not be referred to the Court of Appeal to determine whether it was too lenient.

Ion Onut, 41, was jailed for eight years and 10 months in January at Durham Crown Court, where he admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

Three people died after Onut ploughed into stationary traffic on the A1 at Bowburn, County Durham, in July last year.

The Attorney General's office said Onut's sentence did not meet the criteria for reconsideration under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.

It said that a sentence could only be referred to the Court of Appeal if it was "not just lenient but unduly so."

It determined that the judge would need to have made "a gross error" or imposed a sentence "outside the range of sentences reasonably available" in the circumstances.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General's office said: "The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case."

What is the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme?

Members of the public can ask for a Crown Court sentence to be reviewed if they think it is too low.

The process is carried out by the Attorney General’s Office, and only applies to serious crimes like murder, rape and terror-related offences.

A request has to be submitted within 28 days of the sentence being handed down. It will then be decided if the request will be sent to the Court of Appeal.

Durham Crown Court heard Onut had spent 40 minutes before the crash looking at adult dating sites - phone records confirmed that he had spent nearly £50 engaging with users and editing profiles, the hearing was told.

Onut, who had moved to Galashiels from Romania, was seen weaving across lanes minutes before the crash, and did not slow down.

The 41-year-old did not brake before driving into the line of traffic at 58mph.

David Daglish, 57, and his partner Elaine Sullivan, 59, from Seaham, and Paul Mullen, 51, from Washington died instantly after Ion Onut crashed into the line of traffic, causing an explosion.

Three other people were injured in the crash which involved two lorries and four cars.

Judge James Adkin, who banned Onut from driving for 10 years after his release, said: "You were not asleep at the wheel, which would have been bad enough, in fact you were trawling the internet looking for casual sexual partners".