THE heartbroken father of a man who was killed by a drunk and reckless driver on his birthday is sharing his story in a bid to urge Parliament to consider introducing life sentences for dangerous drivers who kill.

Joe Keane from Billinge had been surprised with a trip to Harrogate by his long-term girlfriend Alyssa in July 2018 to celebrate his 28th birthday.

However on that day, July 13 2018 , when they were driving back to their hotel from Ingleton Falls, disaster struck.

St Helens Star:


Adam Kershaw, now 29, was nearly three times over the drink drive limit when he lost control of his 7.5 tonne box van and "effectively drove over" Alyssa's car.

Alyssa, who was driving, had a minor injury, but Joe, who was in the passenger seat, took the full force of the incident.

Kershaw was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday, December 31 to just nine years behind bars.

In light of this sentence, Terry Keane, Joe's dad, has shared the horrific moments of that day - and the aftermath - in the hope that others will back his bid calling for change in the sentencing guidelines for those who cause death by dangerous driving.

St Helens Star:

The wreckage after the crash which claims Joe's life

Dad-of-two Terry Keane, 55, said: "It was Joe's birthday and he was away with Alyssa. At the moment it happened I was working at my studio in Manchester and I got a call from Alyssa's phone.

"But it wasn't her on the line, it was a man who was quite emotional who passed it on to Alyssa. She told me they had been involved in a serious accident and that Joe was seriously injured.

"I just started to call my brothers to ask them to go to my wife's place of work to get her and take her home.

"But less than 20 minutes later I got a call from a nurse, who had been travelling behind Kershaw and actually reported him for his driving, who said that Joe had lost his life.

"I was just stunned. All I could think of was getting to my wife so she didn't hear it from anyone else.

St Helens Star:

"A colleague drove me home and I called my daughter's boyfriend to say there had been an accident and to get her to our house ASAP.

"I got home and waited for my wife to arrive then I had to tell her the awful news that we had lost our son.

"Our daughter Jen came in and after seeing us we didn't even need to say anything, she just knew her brother was gone.

"While all this was happening Alyssa had been next to Joe and watched her boyfriend die.

"We are a quiet family, I did not focus on Kershaw and instead focused on being there for my family and grieving for my son."

However after the sentencing, Terry is now focusing on fighting for change after stating that the law is "outdated".

St Helens Star:

Alyssa and Joe a month before he died

Pattern cutter Terry added: When it eventually went to court and he was sentenced to nine years, our frustration was fourfold.

"Firstly, due to British Law, Kershaw while waiting for his trial was out pending further investigation, this means he had no limitations placed on him from when it happened to when he was jailed, so potentially while waiting for sentencing on causing the death of my son he could have killed someone else.

"That day he nearly crashed into a bus full of children and other vehicles, it just happened to be my son who was killed.

"Second, I understand how an early guilty plea means you get time taken off your sentence, and I agree with the incentive so families don't have to go through a long trial, but a third being taken off the final sentence is excessive.

St Helens Star:

Joe and his sister Jen

"Thirdly, the maximum sentence of 14 years does not apply unless multiple deaths have occurred, therefore because only Joe died, the maximum sentence does not apply.

"I believe the maximum sentence should be comparable to that of manslaughter for those who cause death by dangerous driving but under current law it started at 13 and a half years.

"Then his early guilty plea was taken into consideration so four and a half years was taken off, then his additional charge for being under the influence of drink and drugs was added on, making it nine years.

"Which brings me to point four, that under current law he will serve half of that, so just four and a half years.

"The loss of my son is so overwhelming and all consuming but the person who ended his life will serve just four and a half years in prison for ending his life and destroying ours in the process.

"The police and judge did everything they could but are handicapped by the system which is insufficient.

"Nine years should mean nine years, being sentenced to nine years and only ending up serving a third of the maximum is just ridiculous.

"We are a quiet family, but something has to be done must be done so no-one else goes through the pain we have."

St Helens Star:

Adam Kershaw

Last year the Star backed calls for Violet’s Law, after the parents of four-year-old St Helens girl Violet-Grace Youens, created an e-petition calling for life sentences, with a minimum tariff of 15 years, for dangerous drivers who kill. This amassed more than 164,000 names, triggering a parliamentary debate.

The Star contacted the Ministry of Justice to ask why there is a delay in this being made into law.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Dangerous drivers ruin lives and we want them to face the toughest punishments. That is why we are focused on getting the law right and will bring forward proposals as soon as possible.”

St Helens North MP Conor McGinn is currently supporting Joe's family and looking into how he can help them in this fight.