South East Wales

Monmouth ban violates Richard Bentham's human rights

Richard Benthan Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Richard Bentham is a graduate of the Celtic Manor Golf Academy in Newport

A ban preventing a golfer from returning to his home town after a car crash in which he killed a lecturer has been ruled unlawful.

Richard Bentham, 23, was jailed for three years after he drove into a camper van near Usk in 2011, killing Dr Graham Howells.

As part of his sentence, he was also banned from returning to Monmouth after his release.

But the High Court has ruled that order breached his human rights.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams said the ban excluded Bentham from going to the home where he had lived with his family since he was about 10-years-old.

"I consider that the exclusion zone imposed upon the claimant is an unjustified interference with his right to respect for his private and family life," said the judge.

Serious impact

The court heard Bentham was banned from entering Monmouth when he was released on licence earlier this year.

A member of Dr Howells' family said the prospect of running into him was an "unbearable" thought.

But lawyers for Bentham, an aspiring professional golfer, said the exclusion had a serious impact on his mother and grandparents, who live at the family home.

His grandparents are in frail health while his mother had an accident earlier this year which has affected her mobility.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Williams said he was convinced Bentham would not have objected to the exclusion zone had it not been for the effect on his family.

He said the member of Dr Howells' family lives on the opposite side of Monmouth, making a chance meeting improbable if Bentham is only allowed to go home.

"In my judgment, the blanket exclusion from his family home is not necessary to prevent a chance encounter between Bentham and the victim's family."

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