Grieving dad calls for tougher deterrents after driver who killed his daughter is jailed

The father of a 17-year-old girl killed by a road rage-fuelled of- duty taxi driver has questioned how the convicted road menace was allowed to drive

David Baillie leaving Newcastle Crown Court
David Baillie leaving Newcastle Crown Court

A grieving father has called for tougher deterrents to stop dangerous drivers after a taxi driver was jailed for seven years for killing his daughter during a fit of road rage.

David Baillie had been granted a licence to drive a taxi despite having a shocking history of motoring offences.

As Baillie, off-duty at the time, carried out an aggressive overtaking manoeuvre after losing his temper with another driver, he ploughed into Sarah Jane Burke as she crossed the road.

The 17-year-old talented art and design student suffered catastrophic injuries and died five days later in hospital.

After seeing Baillie jailed for seven years, Sarah’s father Stephen said there needed to be a greater deterrents put in place to deal with the problem of dangerous drivers.

He also questioned how Baillie was not only on the roads but had been granted a taxi licence, despite his long list of previous convictions for motoring offences.

Fighting back tears, Mr Burke, 50, of Sunderland, who attended Newcastle Crown Court with wife Theresa said: “How could he have been on the road? How did he get a licence as a taxi driver?

“His barrister said people make mistakes but how many mistakes can you make? He has been in prison before, banned before and taken the re-test before.

“As a family we’ve said he will get back on the roads, it’s in his character. We feel he will be a danger again once he gets back on the roads.

“There has to be a deterrent now. I’m speaking for everyone who has suffered, there’s people being killed on the roads every day.”

Sarah Jane Burke who was knocked down and killed on Ormonde Street, Sunderland
Sarah Jane Burke who was knocked down and killed on Ormonde Street, Sunderland

Mr Burke revealed Sarah had signed up to donate her organs when she was 15 and after her death five people received organs from her body.

The proud father also revealed how the family have raised almost £5,000 for the air ambulance which took Sarah to hospital after the accident.

Mr Burke said Sarah’s friends at Shiney Row College had also held an emotional fundraising event in tribute to their pal.

Baillie was driving through Sunderland in his powerful turbo charged Volvo when he became involved in a road rage incident with Vauxhall Corsa driver Paul Potter.

Baillie made an aggressive overtaking manoeuvre in a built up area on Ormonde Street, not realising Sarah was crossing the road on her way home from college.

He ploughed into her, knocking her into the air and she landed on her head, suffering fatal injuries from which she died five days later.

Baillie, 40, of Magdalene Place, Sunderland, has served prison sentences in the past for his bad driving and has a shocking record for motoring offences, including 12 convictions for theft and attempted theft of vehicles, six for taking without consent, eight for driving while disqualified and has been banned from the road nine times.

He was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for seven years and banned from driving for seven years.

The court heard this year would have been Sarah’s 18th birthday, her sister’s 21st and both her parents turn 50. The family were due to have a holiday together to celebrate their special milestones but the remaining members were forced to go without her.

Mr Dry said the family struggle with the silence that now comes from Sarah’s bedroom, which is where her ashes are kept.


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