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Grieving father brands killer driver's jail term an insult'

PUBLISHED: 17:12 28 July 2010 | UPDATED: 11:50 23 August 2010

The father of a 16-year-old boy who died after he was hit by a car has branded the three year sentence given to his killer as an insult Josh Callaghan died after a Vauxhall Vectra driven by Koaldeap Singh Lit crashed into him as he walked along a paveme

The father of a 16-year-old boy who died after he was hit by a car has branded the three year sentence given to his killer as "an insult"

Josh Callaghan died after a Vauxhall Vectra driven by Koaldeap Singh Lit crashed into him as he walked along a pavement in London Road, Northfleet with his father Tim on January 24 last year.

Mr Lit, of Cliffe Road, Strood, was sentenced to three and a half years in jail when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court last week.

The jury took just two hours to reach a unanimous verdict he was guilty of causing death by dangerous driving after he fell asleep at the wheel.

But Mr Callaghan, 46, a self employed electrician from Canon Road, Bromley. said: "The sentence he received is an insult. The legal system has ended up earmarking the offence which Lit was charged with as the lowest level of seriousness.

"There are three levels of death by dangerous driving, and Lit's offence was put at number three. If an accident which ends a life, an innocent life, a young person just walking along the pavement, is not put at number one, then I don't know what to think."

Mr Callaghan said he was taking Josh out for their first "father-son" visit to the Leather Bottle pub after they had both spent the day decorating.

As they walked past the metal railings of Rosherville CoE Primary School, London Road, Northfleet, the car Mr Lit was driving mounted the pavement, hit Josh and then hit another car which had stopped because its driver had seen him swerving.

"It would have been the first time I had taken him to a pub in a serious way, our first father son visit, apart from on holidays, Mr Callaghan said. "As soon as the car hit him I realised straight away that he was dead. There was no movement in his body at all once his head had hit the pavement."

Josh, a talented musician, and pupil at Ravens Wood School in Bromley, was taken to hospital but died in soon after.

Mr Callaghan added: "He was extremely intelligent, and so popular. He had just passed his GCSE's a year early along with some of his friends, so they could start early work in their A-Levels.

"I want to thank everyone, the jury, the witnesses, the emergency services and the police, they have helped make sure Lit was convicted."

Giving evidence in court, Lit, a construction worker who had been driving home from a mornings work in Bath, said a dog had run out from the left as he swerved to the right to avoid it. He denied he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Sentencing Lit on July 21, Judge Jeremy Gold QC told Lit that he had lied about the dog and about the number of stops he had made on route from Bath - he claimed to have stopped six times. Lit was also banned from driving for five years.

He said: "What you did was to carry on driving when you knew you were falling asleep, colliding with Josh and missing his father by inches.

"You realised what you had done and embarked on a course of deliberate lies. I can see very little remorse in the way you have conducted yourself."

Josh leaves behind his mum Sarah Harvey and sister Megan, six, who live in south Wales, as well as his sister Alicia, 14, and brother Sid, three. His sister Beatrice was born four days before his funeral.

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