Father’s bid to reduce sentence for causing death of his son at Langar is dismissed

Tony Aitken (33), formerly of Melton, was jailed for five-and-a-half years EMN-151121-120517001
Tony Aitken (33), formerly of Melton, was jailed for five-and-a-half years EMN-151121-120517001

An ‘irresponsible’ father, whose son was killed after he lost control of the tipper truck he was driving illegally, has been told he cannot complain about his jail term.

Tony Aitken was doing stunts in the Ford work vehicle - which he was not licensed or insured to drive – when it smashed into a pillar and rolled over.

His son, Luke Bayes Aitken, who was celebrating his 12th birthday, was crushed by the van and died instantly.

The 34-year-old father, of Langar, admitted causing Luke’s death by dangerous driving, as well as driving without a licence or insurance. He was jailed for five-and-a-half years and banned from driving for seven.

Aitken challenged his sentence at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it was ‘too long’.

But his appeal was rejected by top judges who said that, while Aitken will have to live with what happened until his ‘dying day’, the sentence passed was ‘not excessive’.

The court heard Aitken, formerly of Melton, went to Luke’s birthday party in a pub on May 4 last year. He later left the party, taking Luke and two other children because they were bored.

He drove to Langar Industrial estate, where he worked, in the tipper truck with the three children and another adult in the two-man cab. None of them wore seatbelts.

Aitken performed a number of stunts, skidding and weaving at speeds of up to 40mph. He lost control, causing it to crash into a concrete pillar and tip over - fatally injuring Luke. The other children suffered cuts and bruises and were severely traumatised by what they witnessed.

Aitken was well below the legal alcohol limit and had no previous convictions.

His lawyers argued the crown court judge didn’t take enough account of the lasting impact Luke’s death would have on him when passing sentence.

But, dismissing his appeal, Lord Justice Treacy said the sentence was ‘justified’. He added: “There were aggravating factors to be taken into account, such as the significant injury to one of the boys, the serious psychological trauma caused to both of them, the ongoing effects upon others, the use of a vehicle without authority and the absence of a valid licence or insurance.

“They, of course, may be balanced to some extent by the fact that the victim was this applicant’s own son, no doubt something he will have to live with until his dying day.”