IMAGE SOURCE: FAMILY PHOTO| Chloe Hayman

Court of Appeals Asked to Review Sentence for Driver Who Killed Teenager Under the Influence

In a case that has sparked outrage and grief, the prison sentence handed down to Keilan Roberts, a 22-year-old driver responsible for the death of 17-year-old Chloe Hayman, is under scrutiny for being deemed “insufficient” by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).

Roberts, a resident of Rhymney, Caerphilly, was found guilty of causing Chloe Hayman’s death in a car crash that occurred in July 2022. The tragic incident was compounded by Roberts’ consumption of alcohol, cocaine, ketamine, and ecstasy prior to the collision.

According to a report from The BBC on Thursday, September 7, 2023, in June of this year, Roberts was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison by Judge David Wynn Morgan at Cardiff Crown Court. Additionally, he received a ten-year driving ban. However, the AGO has since challenged this sentence, arguing that it does not adequately reflect the gravity of Roberts’ actions.

Philip McGhee, representing the AGO, expressed concerns that the increase in Roberts’ jail term by Judge Morgan was insufficient to account for the severity of the offense. The AGO’s written arguments highlighted several aggravating factors, including Roberts driving with dangerously defective rear tires, attempting to drink alcohol after the collision to frustrate the breathalyzer process, and disregarding warnings and concerns expressed by others about his behavior.

Moreover, the AGO emphasized that the judge had not adequately adjusted the sentence to consider Roberts’ high levels of intoxication, which were significantly above the specified limits for each of the three controlled drugs involved. The AGO concluded that the sentence did not align with the overall seriousness of Roberts’ actions.

Roberts, who joined the hearing via video link from HMP Parc in Bridgend, had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of causing death by careless driving while under the influence. His defense counsel, Jeffrey Jones, argued that the sentence was proportionate, noting that the judge had significantly increased it to account for all the drugs involved. Jones also highlighted Roberts’ genuine remorse and the enduring memory of his actions.

The Court of Appeal presided over by Lord Justice Popplewell, Mr. Justice Lavender, and Mr. Justice Bryan, pledged to deliver their written decision in the coming days. Lord Justice Popplewell acknowledged the devastating loss experienced by Chloe Hayman’s family and friends, emphasizing that no sentence could ever compensate for the grievous loss of her life.

During Roberts’ initial sentencing, the court learned that he had a history of drug and alcohol misuse but no previous convictions. Roberts had offered to drive Chloe Hayman, whom he had not met before that evening, to her home in Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf, following a night out in nearby Pontypridd. The tragic accident occurred when Roberts lost control of his vehicle in Fochriw, Caerphilly, resulting in fatal chest injuries for Ms. Hayman, who tragically passed away at the scene.

Chloe Hayman’s family has been profoundly impacted by her untimely death. Her mother, Danielle O’Halloran, shared in a victim personal statement that the loss of her daughter had left her “utterly broken,” and that the pain seemed to intensify with time. Ms. Hayman’s stepmother, Alix Hayman, described her as a “fiercely loyal” teenager who cherished and embraced life fully. She expressed the heart-wrenching reality of living with the family’s loss, describing it as an ongoing nightmare.

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