Updated: Friday, 13th December 2019 @ 8:13pm

Death driver who killed Salford granddad but walked free sets 'dangerous precedent', claims MP

Death driver who killed Salford granddad but walked free sets 'dangerous precedent', claims MP

| By Richard Browne

A driver who killed a granddad of 54 in Salford and then walked free from court sets a ‘dangerous precedent’, according to the MP for Manchester Withington.

Simon Martins, 24, was given an eight-month suspended sentence in Manchester Crown Court this week, after knocking down Hyman Steinberg, 82, as he walked to Ohel Torah synagogue on Leicester Road in December 2012.

John Leech, who was formerly MP of the Year for Road Safety, has called on the Ministry of Justice to reconsider the case.

In a letter to the justice secretary Chris Grayling MP, Mr Leech said: “I personally feel that the sentence given to Mr Martins is too lenient, sets a dangerous precedent and needs to be reviewed.”

Martins pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, as the court heard that he was driving at 42 mph in a 30 mph zone, and that he had sent a text message from behind the wheel shortly before the incident.

His solicitor Nick Freeman – nicknamed ‘Mr Loophole’ for his ability to get high-profile clients off driving offences – said that Mr Steinberg could have lived had he been wearing reflective clothing.

Mr Freeman told the court: “At the time of the accident Mr Steinberg was wearing the traditional dress of many orthodox Jewish men, namely black hat, black suit and black overcoat.

“I'm not suggesting everyone must wear a hi-viz jacket, but something reflective that would give them a visible presence, such as a vest, arm bands or belt.

“Pedestrians along with motorists and cyclists all share road space, and in my view therefore must assume some responsibility to ensure their visibility.”

Mr Freeman claimed that Mr Steinberg was ‘invisible’ to Martins at the time of the incident, and added that the government should introduce new legislation to ‘require’ pedestrians to ‘light up’ at night.

The court gave Martins a prison sentence of eight months, suspended for two years, and ordered him to complete 300 hours of community service, in addition to a 15-month driving ban.

In addition to his letter to the justice secretary, Mr Leech commented: “I’m appalled by the comments from the lawyer Nick Freeman; as well as being culturally insensitive, the incident was clearly the fault of the speeding driver.”