Amy Hofmeister death: Mum Jane "will never have closure"
By abbie_taunton | Thursday, October 25, 2012, 15:08
The Mother of Amy Hofmeister, the schoolgirl who was killed as two drivers raced at 80mph through Taunton still believes Leanne Burnell's extended sentence should be longer.
Jane Hofmeister with her daughter and best friend Amy
Leanne Burnell, 21, was sentenced to 18 months in prison last July following a trial at Taunton Crown Court for causing Amy's death by dangerous driving.
Burnell and her partner Leonard Jones, 42, were racing through Taunton at more than twice the 30mph limit on the evening of June 15 last year, when Jones struck thirteen-year-old Amy.
The Bishop Fox's schoolgirl died and her friend Lucy Hawkins was injured. Jones had previously admitted causing Amy's death by dangerous driving but Burnell had denied the same charge before the verdict.
Yesterday Amy's mum, Jane Hofmeister, attended The Court of Appeal in London with her 17-year-old son Benjamin, where a judge ruled that Burnell have her sentence increased to three and a half years.
Jane Hofmeister, has fought the "lenient" sentencing ever since the original trial and has now spoken out, saying she would still have liked a life sentence for Leanne.
She said: "I received a life sentence when Amy died and I believe the two people that did this to my daughter should as well.
"I started fighting the sentencing as soon as I stepped out of that court room, 18 months was not justice in my eyes.
Jane added that although she would have liked to see Burnell jailed for longer, the sentencing has given her a sense of relief.
"It has been a long 16 months and we are relieved it is over and feel a small sense of closure now we have won the appeal," she said.
"However I will never have real closure because my Amy is still gone and I will live with that for the rest of my life."
"Amy was wonderful – a ray of sunshine in my life and I loved everything about her.
She added tearfully: "She was my best friend in the world.
"She was wise beyond her years and was almost like a second Mother to my son Benjamin after their father died – even though she was two years younger than him."
Jane expressed how her 17-year-old son Benjamin, who attends Richard Huish College in Taunton, has helped her through the last year and a half.
"Benjamin has been through a lot – he has lost his little sister who he loved dearly, and he and Amy both lost their father, who died of a brain tumour in 2003.
"He has had two great losses in his life and has had to look after me as well as grieving for his little sister and his father.
She added: "The support I have received from all of my family and friends is just incredible actually. I really could not have done it without them."
Jane set up a campaign in memory of her daughter last year, called Think Amy. Her aim is to support those who have suffered bereavement after road traffic collision tragedies.
She is adamant that the Think Amy will continue and Jane already working on plans for the campaign's future:
"Just because we have won the appeal doesn't mean Think Amy will stop – it is really important to me to continue to support people and educate others about the knock-on effects of dangerous driving.
"I have plans to go round to local schools and give talks on road safety – telling them my story if it's appropriate.
Jane will also be supporting the 'Make Taunton Sparkle' campaign: "Amy loved Christmas so I really want Taunton to shine with Christmas lights this year and support the campaign.
"A Think Amy Christmas tree will be put up in Taunton for everyone to see."
For more information on Think Amy you can visit the Think Amy Campaign website.