Victims’ families respond to crash driver’s jail sentence

Kyle Witney. Photo courtesy of Sussex Police
Kyle Witney. Photo courtesy of Sussex Police

Grieving families spoke about their loss after a driver was jailed for a fatal road crash.

Kyle Witney, 21, of Finches Lane, Lindfield, was jailed for six years, with a seven year driving ban.

He was sentenced at Hove Trial Centre on Friday, having previously pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

He was driving a BMW at 10pm on 17 December, 2014, when the car left the road and collided with a tree, and landed on its roof in High Beeches Lane near Handcross.

Matthew Preece, 21, from Lindfield, and Marc Martin, 22, from Haywards Heath, both died in hospital from their injuries.

Witney was arrested five days after the incident on suspicion of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving. It is believed he was out with his friends Matthew and Marc, and another friend, on the evening of December 17 and was driving between 80 and 100mph on High Beeches Lane, a 60mph limit road.

Family members of both Marc and Matthew were in court to hear the sentencing, and were able to provide details of the impact the deaths have had on their respective families.

Today, Matthew’s mother Sarah and husband John Cunningham issued a statement following Witney’s sentencing: “We have today seen Kyle Witney sent to prison for causing the death of our son Matt and his friend Marc Martin.

“We hold Kyle Witney totally responsible for the death of Matt and Marc in the horrific road accident in December 2014. Kyle Witney has taken dangerous driving to a new horrific level.

“He has shown no remorse or sympathy towards our families and now has to live with the consequences of his actions.

“Kyle Witney should never be allowed to drive again. He has demonstrated his inability to drive in a safe manner and has killed two people as a result of his actions. No sentence will ever compensate the families’ loss.”

The family of Marc Martin issued the following statement: “We would like to start by saying thank you to Sussex Police because this process has taken far too long to get justice for Marc, and without their support we wouldn’t have been able to get through it.

“Kyle Witney has shown no remorse for his actions that night - and up until this day - that killed our amazing brother Marc and his amazing friend. He has torn apart our family, especially his two beautiful boys Taylor and James, who are having to face growing up without their amazing daddy.

“No sentence would have been long enough because he has given us - and our family and friends - a life sentence without our beautiful brother.

“We are pleased this process is coming to an end because we can finally start grieving in peace as a family, and try and learn how to get through life without our brother by our sides, who we miss with all our hearts.”

Sergeant Clare Kenward said: “Witney had cannabinoids in his system and was clearly driving extremely fast on a national highway limit road on a dark, wet night in December. He has shown little regard for the impact his driving and drug taking had on the others he had in his car and as a result two young men have lost their lives. This is a tragic and needless loss of life.

“Matthew and Marc were young men with their whole lives ahead of them and Witney’s actions have taken them away from their families, who have been left devastated by their deaths. His sentence reflects the consequences his dangerous driving had, however Matthew and Marc’s family will feel their loss for the rest of their lives.”

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