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‘Broken’ family ask what father’s life was worth

No prison sentence will ever lessen the pain Catherine Roberts feels every day over the loss of her father Martin in an horrific car crash.

The 23-year-old says she and her family were even warned that the punishment the killer driver would receive would be low, given his young age.

But more than 18 months after the sentencing, Ms Roberts cannot help but feel her father’s life was worth so much more than the 41/2- year prison term Michael Craig Burvill was given.

“To be told that 41/2 years with a two-year parole was what … our dad’s life was worth was very hard to comprehend,” Ms Roberts said.

“The death of our dad has had an enormous impact on our lives.

“It has changed us in every way possible and has led us to live a life that is very different from one we ever imagined.

“Dad is the first and last thing we think of every day and everything is a reminder of the loving, wonderful father he was and a reminder of the way he was tragically killed and how broken it has left us.”

Mr Roberts, 56, was killed in early 2015 when 20-year-old Burvill, who admitted drinking 11 or 12 beers, drove his car on the wrong side of Karrinyup Road, smashing into the older man’s vehicle.

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Ms Roberts said she and her family felt current maximum sentences were too low, making it difficult for families to feel they had received justice for their losses.

“In our dad’s case, we were bewildered by the fact that the sentence did not even come close to the maximum,” she said.

“We strongly believe that penalties need to be greater for such convictions as our current laws are clearly not acting as a deterrence for those people who think it is OK to drive under the influence.

“We believe that minimums should be put into place especially in the occasion of causing death.

“Deciding to get behind the wheel of the car under the influence is like firing a loaded gun in a crowded place and hoping it does not hit anyone. It should have a sentence that reflects that.”

Ms Roberts said she feared that without stronger penalties nothing would change. Drivers would continue to act recklessly and innocent people would be killed and injured.

“Tougher penalties mean more of a deterrent, a means of justice for the innocent victims and for safer roads for the community,” she said.

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