Dagenham crash victim’s mum says prison should be “wake-up call” for driver

Charlie Gunner, 18, died in the crash.

Charlie Gunner, 18, died in the crash. - Credit: Archant

The mother of a teenager killed after a car crash says she is “disappointed” by the prison sentence given to the driver but hopes he will “change his life”.

Charlie Gunner, 18, died in the crash.

Charlie Gunner, 18, died in the crash. - Credit: Archant

Elliott Antwi, 21, of Mayfield Road, Dagenham, had been disqualified from driving since the age of 14 when he drove his uninsured Audi A3 into a lamppost at about 31mph last August 27.

Best friends Charlie Gunner and Jack Reilly. Charlie died in the car crash last year while Jack suff

Best friends Charlie Gunner and Jack Reilly. Charlie died in the car crash last year while Jack suffered serious brain injuries. - Credit: Archant

Lorraine Gunner’s 18-year-old son Charlie died in the accident, while his best friend Jack Reilly, now 17, was left in a coma but survived.

Ann-Marie Shinkwin's 17-year-old son Jack was critically injured in the crash.

Ann-Marie Shinkwin's 17-year-old son Jack was critically injured in the crash. - Credit: Archant

At Snaresbrook Crown Court last Thursday, Antwi was jailed for five years.

Mrs Gunner said her family were “disappointed” with the sentencing.

She said: “We thought he would get more than he did. It was very hard to hear and obviously very upsetting.”

She also said she hoped this would be a wake-up call for Antwi.

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“I can never forgive him but let’s hope he gets something good out of this and changes his life. I hope he realises what he has done to our family,” she said.

Lorraine, 53, and husband Peter, 70, of Reede Road, Dagenham, live round the corner from where the accident happened.

She said: “We think of Charlie every day. He was such a loving and caring boy. He had a lot of friends and never had a bad word to say about anybody.”

Meanwhile Jack’s mum Ann-Marie Shinkwin said she was appalled that the charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm, which related to her son’s injuries, did not receive a sentence.

Judge Martyn Zeidman sentenced Antwi for the charge of death by dangerous driving without making separate sentences for additional charges.

Mrs Shinkwin told the Post: “My son was revived three times and was lucky to be alive. The doctors told us to prepare for the worst. His injuries were so severe, but the judge hasn’t given justice to Jack at all.”

Jack amazed doctors with his recovery and has been able to return to college, but he still struggles with reading and writing and the right side of his body is weaker.

Mrs Shinkwin said: “This has been extremely emotional for Jack and he becomes very fed up and depressed. He feels like he is half the person he was. His whole character has changed.”

She also felt the sentence was not long enough and said: “It is appalling that a life has been taken and only five years has been given for that life and he will serve less than that. Jack and our whole family’s lives have been changed and Jack has lost his best friend.”

She said she would be contacting the Director of Public Prosecutions to voice her concerns about the sentence.

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