Widow fury as killer Darren Luke sent to open jail

Laura Casement with her late husband Billy and their two daughters. Picture: TSPL
Laura Casement with her late husband Billy and their two daughters. Picture: TSPL
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THE widow of a dad-of-two today condemned the justice system after the speeding motorist jailed for killing him was sent to open prison just six months into a three-year sentence.

Darren Luke was imprisoned in November for causing the death of his front seat passenger, Billy Casement, and is set to be granted home visits in less than four weeks.

Darren Luke. Picture: Lesley Donald

Darren Luke. Picture: Lesley Donald

Billy’s grieving wife, Laura, was left “in shock” after receiving a letter from the Scottish Prison Service telling her Luke had been moved to Castle Huntly, near Dundee, last Thursday.

If Luke behaves, he can begin home visits as early as June 12, only seven months after being jailed for causing death by dangerous driving.

Billy, 30, a maintenance operator with Dunedin Canmore, died after Luke’s high-performance Subaru Impreza clocked up 74mph in a 40mph zone on Maybury Road on March 7, 2012. It was on the wrong side of the road, and rammed into a Renault Clio and a Peugeot Boxer van.

Mrs Casement said: “I’m in shock over this. I feel that every time I try to get back on track something pulls me back to the reality of what happened.

“The justice system is all wrong. It’s like Billy’s death means nothing, like his life was worth nothing.

“If Darren Luke was really sorry he would’ve sent a card to the family or something to say sorry. But he’s never done anything. He has never shown the slightest thought to what our family went through and still go through.”

Mrs Casement, 31, said she struggles to cope every day with the loss of her “soulmate”, but their daughters, Emma, five, and Lucy, two, have given her the strength to carry on.

She said: “Emma has asked if Darren is still in jail. She also comes out with things you would never want to hear from a five-year-old. She said recently she had made a wish that I’d never die and leave her alone. I want my daughter to make wishes about princesses and happy things, not about death.

“I could hate Darren Luke for the rest of my life but Billy is still gone. Anger does not come close to what I feel about Darren. I want to try and forget about him if I’m honest.”

Mrs Casement, a fitness instructor who lives in Joppa, added: “My mum has moved in with me to keep my head above water but this has taken a toll on her health too. She’s had a few mini-strokes since this happened.

“I find getting through each day exhausting. Some days are better than others but sometimes I don’t even want to get out of bed. I have to put a face on for my job, like being an actress. I have to smile and be positive no matter how I feel.”

Luke, of Kirk Street, Leith, was pulled from the car wreck with smashed ribs, a fractured pelvis and other injuries. The 30-year-old had a previous conviction for speeding.

Prisoners deemed “low risk” are considered for transfer to open prison after undergoing assessment.

Home visits can begin 28 days after an inmate arrives at the prison, starting off with a day or two then later stretching to a week. The visits are unaccompanied but the inmate must arrive back at a specified time.

David Sinclair, of Victim Support Scotland, said: “The general public would expect that the justice system takes into account the feelings of victims.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This is an operational decision for the Scottish Prison Service.”

A Prison Service spokesman added: “We do not comment on individual prisoners.”

amcewen@edinburghnews.com