Driver to appeal in Osborn death case

Stephen Osborn, father of hit-and-run victim Tim Osborn, holds a photo of his son next to a painting called The Fire Still Burns by The Strange Fruits.
Stephen Osborn, father of hit-and-run victim Tim Osborn, holds a photo of his son next to a painting called The Fire Still Burns by The Strange Fruits.
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The family of Tim Osborn (27) are to face more agony after news that the man responsible for his death is to appeal against his sentence.

Stephen Osborn (51), father of the popular supermarket worker who was knocked down and killed by a van driven by Paul Walken (42) in September 2012, said he was “flabbergasted” by plans to contest the eight-year jail term and ten-year driving ban handed down at Lincoln Crown Court in April.

Walken, of Chapel Lane, Folkingham, admitted causing death by careless driving while unfit to drive through drink after overwhelming evidence found that he had knocked down Tim who was on his way home from work at Morrisons Supermarket in Pinchbeck.

Lawyers for Walken confirmed to the Guardian that “advice had been written” to Lincoln Crown Court and a Lincolnshire Police spokesman said an appeal against the sentence was going ahead.

Mr Osborn, of Bourne Road, Spalding, said: “It totally knocked me for six when I was told about the appeal.

“After all, we can’t appeal against the sentence he (Walken) has given us so why should he have a right to appeal against his sentence?

“I’m flabbergasted by it all and it brings the pain of Tim’s death back.”

At the hearing in April, lawyers for Walken argued that he was “desperately sorry for what he has done” and “the consequences of his actions will weigh on him for the rest of his life.

But Mr Osborn said: “Walken kept us on tenterhooks right until the last minute and just made things even worse for us.

“We knew that he wasn’t going to get long in prison and we also knew there was a possibility that he could walk away with a suspended sentence.

“It was only for the fact that the judge was very understanding, he’d read the case and it affected him.

“The judge gave the sentence we believed was the maximum the law would allow him to give and we were shocked by the length of it because it was more than we thought it would be.”

Sentencing Walken at Lincoln Crown Court, Judge Stuart Rafferty said: “Tim Osborn was entirely without fault and he was there for anyone to see who wanted to see him.

“This was not a momentary lack of attention, it was high speed driving and then not stopping at the scene when you could have been in no doubt that you had hit something.”

Mr Osborn said he plans to attend the appeal “for my son and children”, but also to see if Walken answers the question “Why didn’t you stop after hitting Tim”?

“Walken is just looking after his own interests and certainly not thinking of us or what he’s done,” Mr Osborn said.

“We can’t say that his sentence will be increased, but the one thing that scares us even more is that his sentence will be reduced.

“I still come down most morning to see if Tim is coming up the path and I have to say how angry we are about the appeal.

“During the court case, I couldn’t get angry because I had to stay strong for my family.

“But I’m angry now and I hate Walken with a passion.”