Court “underestimated” student’s life

The mother of Edmund Sutton, an Oxford student killed in a car crash last year, has expressed her anger and grief after the Cambridge student responsible was fined just £250. Georgia Sutton told Cherwell that the outcome of the hearing was “a disgrace to Edmund’s name” and said that the family was “shocked and devastated.”

Edmund Sutton, ex-President of the Oxford University Conservative Association(OUCA) and Magdalen Classics finalist, died after the car in which he was travelling came off the road and hit a tree last New Year. He was twenty-one. The driver, Andrew Ring, was initially charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but last Friday the charge was dropped. Instead Ring pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of careless driving. He was fined £250, with £83 costs and banned from driving for a year.

Mrs. Sutton said that the fact the initial charges had been dropped due to lack of evidence was “ridiculous.” She said “Andrew admitted that he asked Edmund and his girlfriend to sing to keep him awake. They saw he was sleepy and told him to stop and have coffee, but he didn’t.” “I blame the parents,” she added. “It is wrong to give children cars until they have had enough experience of driving on the motorway. They have a lot to answer for.”

Ring was driving home from a New Year’s Eve party and had complained of tiredness when he clipped the road’s central reservation and lost control of the car as it spun across the carriageway. The three others in the vehicle, including Sutton’s girlfriend Miranda, walked away from the crash unhurt, but Sutton was killed instantly.

Ring accepted responsibility for causing the death by a “momentary lapse of concentration.” Mrs. Sutton said that her son was “a very modest person who took his time to talk to people. We have lost a son who had a great future before him.” Friend Anatole Pang said it was not useful to blame any individual for the accident, paying tribute to a “dear friend who  always had time to listen and whose support was faultlessly genuine even in social circles that were not.” Another friend Marc Stoneham said that Sutton was “trustworthy, talented, kind and generous” and “very much missed by all who knew him.” Barrister Tom Kirk said, “Ring has enormous regret for the pain and suffering he has caused Edmund’s family.”Sutton was a chorister, footballer, debater and was described as a “rising star” of the Conservative Party by ex-leader, Iain Duncan Smith.ARCHIVE: 0th Week HT 2004