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Amy Hofmeister death: Leanne Burnell prison sentence doubled after appeal

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: October 24, 2012

Amy Hofmeister died in June 2011 after being struck by a car driven by Leonard Jones

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A woman jailed for causing the death of Taunton schoolgirl Amy Hofmeister by dangerous driving has had her prison sentence more than doubled at the Court of Appeal.

Leanne Burnell, 21, from Bishop's Hull, was jailed for 18 months in July following a trial at Taunton Crown Court.

Burnell was racing her former boyfriend, Leonard Jones, through Taunton at speeds more than twice the 30mph speed limit when Jones struck the schoolgirl, who was out cycling with a friend along Blackbrook Way in June 2011.

Jones, 42, pleaded guilty to causing her death by dangerous driving and was jailed for seven years. Burnell denied the charge but was convicted after a four-day trial.

Lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service referred the case to the Attorney General, on the grounds of the “undue leniency” of Burnell's sentence.

At the Court of Appeal in London today, Burnell's sentence was increased to three-and-a-half years.

Chief Superintendent Daimon Tilley said: "We are pleased with the outcome of this appeal.

"We hope the sentencing of Jones and Burnell brings some comfort to Amy's family.

"13 year-old Amy's death was totally unnecessary. She was doing everything right wearing reflective clothing, a helmet and cycling on a proper cycle path.

"Amy's death has impacted heavily on many people, particularly her family, but has also left an entire community grieving and shocked.

"I was personally involved immediately after the incident and the subsequent investigation and I have been overwhelmed by the community's support for both Amy's family and friends and to the police investigation. I am really grateful to the residents of Taunton for their help and compassion.

"Avon and Somerset Police, with our partners and charities such as Jane Hofmeister's Think Amy campaign, will continue to educate people about the consequences of driving dangerously, driving under the influence of drink and drugs and excessive speed.

"We will not tolerate those road users who put all our lives at risk through illegal or dangerous driving and will always seek to take action against those who do.

"Our thoughts are with Amy's family who are campaigning bravely to promote road safety in the hope that her death will not be in vain."

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  • Charlespk  |  October 24 2012, 4:09PM

    People really love to get the knives out as we see again with George Entwistle and the BBC. But in the next breath we are told the prisons are overcrowded and we should be releasing half these repeat offenders and locking up only those who need locking up. You couldn't make these clowns up!!!!