Family of Christmas Eve hit-and-run victim Liam Rogerson dismayed at driver’s sentence

Liam Rogerson was killed on Christmas Eve
Liam Rogerson was killed on Christmas Eve

The family of a man killed in a Christmas Eve hit and run say they are dismayed by the sentence given to the killer driver.

Liam Rogerson, 28, from Houghton, was killed on a pedestrian crossing in December last year while visiting his sister Faye, who lives in Dartford, Kent, for the holidays.

The driver of the vehicle, Jamie Burchell-Reeves, 23, of Wakefield Road, Greenhithe, was today sentenced for four and a half years at Woolwich Crown Court after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

In his younger years, Liam had been hailed a hero after suffering serious skull injuries in a road accident near his home in 2000, while he bravely tried to protect his friend Alistair Johnson.

Liam’s dad William Rogerson, from Whitburn, travelled to London for the hearing to give a statement about how losing their son had devastated the family.

Speaking to the Echo afterwards, he said: “Nothing can bring my precious first born son Liam back to me; but I had hoped that justice would prevail and the length of the sentence imposed would send a clear message to the accused of the serious nature of his crime and act as a deterrent to others.

Liam, far right, with brother Niall and sister Faye

Liam, far right, with brother Niall and sister Faye

“Sadly the sentence imposed today of four and a half years was a disappointment to me, and reflects the restrictions the law places on sentences available for hit and run crimes. 
“It was difficult to prove that the driver of the car intentionally killed my son.”

He added: “My son was only 28 years old, was single, and had all his life ahead of him. He didn’t deserve to die like this on Christmas Eve, as he prepared to enjoy Christmas with his sister and brother.

“The convicted man Jamie Burchell-Reeves drove recklessly without a licence or insurance in his girlfriend’s car and left my son to die in the road.

“He will be able to leave jail in about two years time on good behaviour and rebuild his life at a comparatively young age; for my son Liam there is nothing more left.”

Burchell-Reeves also admitted failing to stop after a road accident, failing to report the collision and being uninsured or unlicensed at the time of the accident.

He was also disqualified from driving for six months at the hearing.

The passenger of the car which struck Liam was spared jail in June after a hearing at Medway Magistrates’ Court in Kent.

Sophie Jane Clarke, 20, of Medway Road, Crayford, was given an eight-week sentence, suspended for 12 months, and banned from driving for a year after pleading guilty to dangerous driving between the scene of the collison and Medway Road, and allowing Burchell-Reeves to use the vehicle without insurance and a licence.

Liam, who worked for Dynamic Arc in Seaham, had been visiting his sister Faye with younger brother Niall.

The popular electrical engineer had been looking forward to spending the holidays with his siblings, but was killed just hours after leaving his home to make the drive south.

He was struck by a black Vauxhall Corsa just yards from his sister’s home, with his siblings and Faye’s fiancé Chris rushing to his aid as he lay in the road.

Tributes poured in following his death and around 150 people attended his funeral in January in St Michael’s Church, Houghton, to pay their respects to the much-loved man.

A memorial for the former St Robert of Newminster School pupil has been placed at the family plot at Hetton Cemetery.

In his younger years, Liam had been hailed a hero after suffering serious skull injuries in a road accident near his home in 2000, while he bravely tried to protect his friend Alistair Johnson.