Family of Plymouth biker killed by rival motorcycle gang campaign for increased sentences

The family of a man from Ivybridge who was killed by members of a rival motorcycle gang on the A38 are campaigning to have the offenders’ sentences increased.

David Crawford was knocked off his bike near Plymouth last year and three men were jailed for manslaughter – one for 12 years and two for four years each.

His family think the sentences were too lenient – and they are hoping to take their fight to the Court of Appeal.

David Crawford's family say he was a caring man with a dark sense of humour.
David Crawford’s family say he was a caring man with a dark sense of humour.Credit: Family picture

Speaking to ITV West Country, David’s daughter, Janice, described him as a “funny and protective” man, father, grandfather, brother and son with a passion for music, rugby and motorbikes.

Most people knew him better as, ‘Mad Dog’ – an ironic nickname, as his family say that despite his tough exterior, he had a soft inside.

On 12 May last year, 59-year-old David was riding his motorcycle along the A38 towards Plymouth when he was spotted by a rival group of bikers.

Benjamin Parry was jailed for 12 years for manslaughter.
Benjamin Parry was jailed for 12 years for manslaughter.Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

A car blocked his path on the St Budeaux slip road. Moments later, as shown in this dashcam footage which was played in court, David was struck from behind by a transit van being driven by Benjamin Parry.

David was thrown off his bike and got trapped underneath the van and dragged along the dual carriageway, suffering horrific injuries which caused his death.

Parry, along with Chad Brading and Thomas Pawley who were in the car, were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.

The jury in the trial could not be sure that the three men had intended to kill David or cause him serious injury.

The judge told them David was entirely innocent, and suffered significant mental and physical pain.

Parry, Brading and Pawley were all convicted of manslaughter.
Parry, Brading and Pawley were all convicted of manslaughter.Credit: Elizabeth Cook

For his role in the incident, van driver Parry was jailed for 12 years. Chad Brading and Thomas Pawley were given four years each.

David’s daughter, Janice, said: “I wouldn’t wish this on anybody, not even my worst enemy. I still have nightmares, I don’t sleep.

“We want justice for my dad. We know he isn’t coming back, but it’s an insult. What sort of example does it set? We just want a fresh pair of eyes.”

David’s widow, Ann-Marie, said: “We are very wary of who we are talking to now. Our world has become very small. We just want someone to look again at the sentences.”

Gary Streeter MP is backing the family's campaign.
Gary Streeter MP is backing the family’s campaign.Credit: ITV News

The family have launched an online petition to attract support for their fight, and their local MP Gary Streeter is taking up the cause in Parliament by writing to the Attorney General.

Mr Streeter said: “I, like most people locally, found this to be a shocking and utterly unacceptable brutal killing of an innocent man.

“So I was absolutely enthusiastic to refer this to the Attorney General, get her to look at all the detail, and decide whether 12 years – which effectively means eight years – is far too lenient for taking a man’s life.”

If the government agrees, the case could be referred to the Court of Appeal.

Source: ITV News