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Amy's mother slams death driver's "insulting" sentence
9:40am Wednesday 25th July 2012 in News
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- Amy Hofmeister's mum launches appeal against Leanne Burnell's 18-month sentence, which she slams as "insulting".
- Leonard Jones apologises to Amy's mother as he is sent to prison for seven years.
SENTENCING Jones and Burnell, Judge Graham Hume Jones said: “The result of your dangerous driving was the tragic death of a 13-year-old girl, Amy Hofmeister.
“This has caused devastating grief to her mother and brother and family, only recently mourning the death of her father from cancer.
"It has also deeply affected her many friends.
“Anyone hearing about this case can’t but have the deepest sympathy for this family and our deepest condolences go to them all.
“Nothing any court can do can restore Amy to them or resolve the deep sense of loss or even the anger at what has
“They will live with this loss for the rest of their lives.”
The judge said he considered the accident came after Burnell
made it clear she wanted to get home before Jones.
He said: “She began to drive too fast, getting faster and
faster and faster, the Vectra following and getting faster and
faster and faster.”
When Jones overtook Burnell he lost control and hit Amy,
meaning he must take “the greatest responsibility for this
JONES, 42, was impassive as he was sentenced, but as he was led to the cells he mouthed “sorry” to Amy’s mother, Jane.
Afterwards Mrs Hofmeister said: “It was the first contact I’d had with him.
“He looked at me and said sorry from the actual box
“I acknowledged him with a nod.
“He didn’t have to do that and I’ve taken it on board.”
Jones, of Mulberry Close, Taunton, also expressed his remorse for Amy’s death in a letter to the court.
Ed Boyce, defending, said: “He knows that whatever sentence is passed, it won’t undo the terrible course of events that led to the tragic death of Amy Hofmeister.
“He wishes the court to know that he’s racked with guilt and remorse. He wishes it was him that had died.”
Mr Boyce added that Jones will not return to Taunton once he is released.
He said: “He’ll go to live in another part of the country – he hopes that will show some respect for Amy’s family – and he has no intention of driving again.”
BURNELL, 21, of Bishop’s Hull, who is expecting a baby in early September, showed no emotion as she was jailed.
Earlier, her barrister Rebecca Bradberry said Burnell had a “good work ethic”, left school with 13 GCSEs and previously worked at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital.
Miss Bradberry said Burnell had suffered depression since 2009 after being bullied and does not accept that she was racing with Jones.
She said Burnell’s apparent “lack of remorse and her heartlessness during the trial” were the only way she could cope.
“It was to simply detach herself so she didn’t spend the whole four days of the trial breaking down,” said Miss Bradberry.
She added: “She might not have contact with her child until her release other than when her parents can facilitate it.”
Outside the court, Mrs Hofmeister said: “I didn’t see any remorse in Leanne Burnell.
“Her whole demeanour, her body language, she lied to the police and continued to do so as she pleaded not guilty.
“I believe she did everything she possibly could, including the pregnancy, in order to attempt to get a lesser sentence – and she’s achieved that.”
A COMPUTER hacker has caused a few problems for Jane Hofmeister this morning.
His actions have seen messages sent from her e-mail account appealing to friends to send her money, falsely claiming she is stuck abroad.
She said: "I apologise to anyone who's received a false message and ask them to ignore it."
10:13am Wed 25 Jul 12
Totally agree, her sentence should be double as she pleaded not guilty and dragged the Hofmeister family through the pain of a trial. It takes two or more to have a race so if she was not involved then who else was? Just as guilty as the lad that killed poor Amy but deserves a bigger sentence for trying to insult the jury's intelligence.
Leonard Jones, 42, who was driving the car that hit Amy was given 7 years. Leanne Burnell, 21, who drove the other car, was given 18 months— @danielrmilligan 24 July 2012
Jane Hofmeister on Facebook:
"I attended court this morning with every hope in my heart that justice would be served with regard to Leonard Jones & Leanne Burnell...but sadly not.
"7 years for him. 11yrs minus a third for pleading guilty & a further 4 months off for writing a letter of remorse to the court & promising not to return to Taunton on release.
"He'll be out in 3 & a half yrs if he behaves in jail. Justice??
"Leanne Burnell?? Equally ... See moreresponsible the judge said at the trial..the jury agreed & was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
"Her sentence??18 months, probably out in 9 or even less. Justice?!
"I asked for justice. I promised Amy I'd fight. Clearly my fight is not over. I start again. I will challenge this & fight the courts all the way.
"There are two categories for dangerous driving. The stating point for category two is 3yrs. How in earth then can a judge served an insulting 18months??
"I will launch a campaign called Justice for Amy & I ask you all please to back me with this.
"This sentence is an insult. An insult to myself Benjamin, Amy's family. But more importantly an insult to Amy herself.
"My work starts right here right now. I will not accept & allow this. I am a fair person. Leonard Jones in leaving to dock stood still, looked me squarely in the eyes & said sorry.
"I'm a fair woman & I saw sincerity in that moment. I nodded an acknowledgment. Leanne Burnell did nothing. Sat there with her usual arrogant look.
"Her defence pleaded on her behalf not to seperate mother & child. It obviously worked. The judge has given a ridiculously low sentence.
"My sentence however is life. Amy..my baby..my heart..my love I will fight. I will not stop I love you. I miss you. You are my Daughter, my sunshine. I will do everything in my power sweetheart. It's not over.. I love you Mummy x"
A GRIEVING mother has appealed for an increase in the “insulting” sentence given to a pregnant woman who caused her teenage daughter’s death.
Jane Hofmeister contacted the Attorney General within hours of Leanne Burnell being sent down for 18 months at Taunton Crown Court on Tuesday.
Burnell, 21, of Bishop’s Hull, was racing her car against her then boyfriend when his vehicle mowed down 13-year-old Amy Hofmeister (pictured) as she cycled home along Blackbrook Way, Taunton.
Leonard ‘Nitty’ Jones, 42, whose car hit Amy, was jailed for seven years – he admitted causing Amy’s death by dangerous driving and two other charges, but Burnell was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving at trial after pleading her innocence.
Judge Graham Hume Jones told Burnell, who is expecting a baby in September, that she instigated a race with Jones before the tragedy in June last year.
Outside court, Mrs Hofmeister said: “I wanted justice for Amy after she was taken from me and I don’t believe I’ve received it, so the fight will continue.
“I’m going to do everything I can to take this forward.
“Leanne Burnell got 18 months – that isn’t even the beginning of the starting sentence guidelines. My life sentence started on June 15 last year at 7.30pm and me and my family get no reduction.
“The accident happened because she instigated the race. Had there been no race, Amy would be alive today.
“Leanne Burnell and Leonard Jones were equally responsible, but there was no equal sentence.
“She was charged in August last year, yet allowed herself to become pregnant in January knowing she was facing a trial – that was pretty irresponsible.
“Nothing reflects the gravity of what Leonard Jones did. He was caught red-handed and there was no option but to plead guilty, yet he gets a third reduction in his sentence for that.
“It’s devastated my family and my grieving is as strong today as a year ago.”
Mrs Hofmeister wrote to the Attorney General on Tuesday evening and is launching a petition as part of her Justice for Amy campaign.
She says she is angry at Burnell’s sentence because the guideline starting point is four years’ jail.
“The sentence is an insult – an insult to myself, Benjamin (her son), Amy’s family,” she wrote on Facebook.
“But more importantly an insult to Amy herself.
“I will not accept and allow this.”
She said it was unfair that Burnell’s lawyer made great play of the fact that she would be separated from her newborn baby for a lengthy period if she received a long sentence.
“She (Burnell) separated me from my child forever,” said Mrs Hofmeister.
Amy’s brother, Ben, 17, said: “Nothing would be enough, but that sentence for me is far too light.
“We don’t have Amy any more, so we’ve practically been given a life sentence and Leanne Burnell could be out in nine months.
“I feel angry and maybe we haven’t actually got justice for Amy.”
What do you think of this week’s sentences? Leave your comments on this story.