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Family 'disgusted' at sentence

PUBLISHED: 17:33 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:44 03 July 2010

TRIBUTES: Matty Eckett

TRIBUTES: Matty Eckett

Dominic Bareham

THE grieving relatives of a Caister teenager who had “so much to live for and discover” have slammed the sentence handed to the driver of a First Eastern Counties bus involved in a collision which killed the 17-year-old.

THE grieving relatives of a Caister teenager who had “so much to live for and discover” have slammed the sentence handed to the driver of a First Eastern Counties bus involved in a collision which killed the 17-year-old.

Hilary Caile and Chris McConville, mother and stepfather of Matthew Eckett, 17, were angry Dennis Kuhn, 48, received an 18 month driving ban and £400 fine for driving without due care and attention when his bus was in collision with Matthew's moped in Caister.

Kuhn, of Beach Road, Scratby pleaded guilty to the charge at Yarmouth Magistrates Court, which related to the accident in Prince of Wales Road in July, yards from the home Matthew shared with his mother and stepfather, brother Gary Eckett, 15 and stepbrother Lewis McConville, 15.

But after Monday'ssentencing his distraught mother said: “I think the sentence is disgusting and does not reflect the loss of a child's life, especially not a 17-year-old lad who had done nothing wrong.”

Mr McConville added: “We are very devastated about what happened to Matthew and finding it very hard to cope every day without him. He had so much to live for and discover.”

Matthew, a keen fishing enthusiast, had completed his schooling at Caister High School and gained NVQ and City and Guilds qualifications in engineering and welding at Great Yarmouth College before the early morning crash.

“He was a polite and quiet spoken lad who was full of fun. He was always willing to help people and do odd jobs. He really enjoyed his fishing. He was a member of Great Yarmouth Freshwater Angling Club and spent most of his spare time fishing.

“Matthew lived life to the full and was looking forward to passing his driving test where he had just come of age taking lessons.”

Friends of the popular teenager have set up a moving tribute page to Matthew on the social networking site Bebo.

At the time of the accident, which sent shockwaves through the village, numerous floral tributes were laid at the spot where the youngster, known affectionately as “Matty,” had died.

One of his friends, Jason Shreeve, described him as a “quiet lad who liked fishing.”

The pair became friends at Caister High School and Mr Shreeve said at the time of the accident that Matty had moved to Caister from London five years previously and that they did “everything together.”

The bus was carrying pupils to Flegg High School at the time of the incident and the death prompted renewed calls from Caister Parish Council chairman Tony Overill for big buses to be stopped from going through the estate. A young boy on a pedal cycle had died in an accident on the estate four years earlier.

Mr McConville backed Mr Overill's appeal and said a bus stop should be created at the end of Prince of Wales Road near the junction with Norwich Road so buses did not have to come off the main roads to travel through the estate.

Gussy Alamein, of First Eastern Counties, said 48-year-old Mr Kuhn, of Beach Road, Scratby had been sacked.

He said: “Everyone at First Eastern Counties was deeply saddened by this incident and I would like to reiterate my condolences to Matthew Eckett's family. The driver, Dennis Kuhn, is no longer employed by us.”


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