Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Family 'cautiously optimistic' over Isle of Man crash inquiry

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Media captionFamily 'cautiously optimistic' over Isle of Man crash probe

The family of a woman killed in a hit-and-run on the Isle of Man say they are "cautiously optimistic" about getting an independent inquiry.

Gwen Valentine, who was 62 and from Hampshire, was visiting last April when she was knocked over and killed by a car driven by Donovan Kitching.

Kitching, 30, had been released on parole from prison three weeks before.

The Manx government said an independent inquiry will be launched into the circumstances of his release.

Image copyright IoM Police
Image caption Gwen Valentine had been retired for just over a week and was planning to get married in June

A spokesman added: "The department wishes to express its condolences to the family and friends of Ms Valentine."

Gwen's son Stuart Valentine said: "I am a sceptic and so I would say we are cautiously optimistic about the enquiry - it's easy to talk the talk and now I want to see them walk the walk - but this is a good start."

On Thursday at Douglas Court House, Kitching, from St John's, was sentenced to 10 years and 72 days after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Risk assessments

The court heard Kitching had never had a driving lesson or held a driving licence. He also did not have insurance and had just failed a roadside breath test.

After he was stopped for drink-driving, Kitching assaulted the police officer and drove away. He lost control of the car moments before knocking over Ms Valentine.

After sentencing, Ms Valentine's family called for scrutiny of the Isle of Man's probation system, prisoner risk assessments, and the rehabilitation of prisoners.

"We would want to see that the people conducting the investigation are truly independent - if someone else was to die in similar circumstances and we hadn't done all we can to make sure lessons have been learnt then that would be terrible," added Mr Valentine.

The Isle of Man government said it would be "inappropriate to provide any further comment while this process is taking place".

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