A GRIEVING family has spoken of the day their lives were torn apart after the dangerous driver who killed their son was sent to prison. Graham and Lynne Pattle said the death of their son Chris had devastated not only their lives, but the lives of his two
A GRIEVING family has spoken of the day their lives were torn apart after the dangerous driver who killed their son was sent to prison.
Graham and Lynne Pattle said the death of their son Chris had devastated not only their lives, but the lives of his two sisters and his many friends.
Mr and Mrs Pattle, of Eaton Ford, told The Hunts Post they hope talking about their son's death will encourage people to drive more safely.
Mrs Pattle, 51, said: "People do not appreciate that a car is a deadly weapon. The amount of bad driving you see on the road every day is terrifying.
"When I see a bad driver I want to tell them of the devastation they could cause, but unfortunately I believe most would take no notice."
Mr Pattle, 55, said: "People think 'it won't happen to me'. Believe us, it can."
Music lover Chris, 24, was driving home from work last November when his car was involved in a head-on collision with an Audi A3 on the B645 St Neots-Rushden road.
The driver of the Audi, Alex Kuhne, 22, had crossed a solid white line with the intent of overtaking another vehicle near the Northamptonshire village of Hargrave.
Instead, Kuhne, of Common Lane, Hemingford Abbots, ploughed his car into Chris's Mazda. Chris died at the scene, while Kuhne suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Kuhne was sentenced to 20 months in prison and banned from driving for two years at Northampton Crown Court last week. He had pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
Chris, an accomplished guitar player, went to Eynesbury Primary School and Ernulf Community College before studying law at Leicester University.
In 2006, he joined Northampton-based solicitor Tollers and was taking the legal practice course. Much of his work at the law firm involved personal injury claims.
His parents said he was an extremely popular and very sociable young man with his whole life ahead of him.
"He would always look out for his friends," Mrs Pattle said. "He was the sensible one and he touched people that he barely knew. We have had e-mails and letters from his clients - some who he only ever spoke to on the phone."
About 350 mourners attended his funeral service. One friend even has Chris's name tattooed on his back as a mark of friendship.
A Manchester United fan, Chris was very close to his sisters, Louise, 27, and Charlotte, 21, who his parents said have been deeply affected by his death.
Mr and Mrs Pattle said that although they believed the 20-month prison sentence handed to Kuhne was light, no sentence would have been of any comfort to them.
Mrs Pattle said: "He has devastated our lives. I am angry that my son's life has been taken away from him."
Mr Pattle added: "We could say that we hate the bloke, but we don't know him. All we know is that he was driving so badly at that time on that day."
The family said they were disappointed that the victim impact statement they had prepared, which was read by the sentencing judge, was not read out in court.
Mrs Pattle said: "I wanted him to know exactly what he had done. If he spent five minutes in our house talking about Chris he would know.
"He says he cannot remember the crash. I wish he could. I wish he could see his face behind the wheel coming towards him because it is a memory we will have forever.