December 5, 2022 7.00 pm This story is over 16 months old

Woman forgives reckless driver who killed her mother

“The restorative justice process actually has made me a lot stronger”

A Lincolnshire woman revealed how she has forgiven the reckless driver who killed her mother – after meeting him in prison.

Molly (*name changed for privacy), 29, was at work in 2020 when she received the horrific phone call explaining her 59-year-old mother had died in a traffic collision.

She explained how “almost instantly” she wanted to meet the 26-year-old man responsible for the crash to see if he showed remorse.

But it wasn’t until the offender pleaded guilty in court that Molly finally decided to turn to the restorative justice process to see if she could meet him in person.

The driver was jailed for eight years after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

After working with the staff from Restorative Solutions in Lincolnshire for six months working towards a structured conversation, she met with the offender six months later and found she was able to come to terms with what he had done

And although Molly admits she has “bad days” when she “shouldn’t be so forgiving” she does believe the process has been a positive one for both her and the offender.

“The morning of the accident, I woke up at 5:30 and felt really sick. So then, I just thought ‘go back to sleep you’ll be fine’. I went back to sleep, woke up that morning and I still felt really, really sick. 

“Then my best friend, a relative of my mum’s husband, rang me and in the background I heard my step dad telling me that my mom had died and at first I thought it was some kind of joke or something just because that’s you never believe it’s going to happen to you.

“The face-to-face meeting was scary. We met in prison and it was strange and unsettling, but I think overall if it wasn’t for me doing it and for me meeting him, I don’t think I’d be the person that I am today.

“Looking back on the restorative justice process, it actually has made me a lot stronger. It helped me with the grieving process.

“And from meeting him I can see that he wants to change and he wants to do better for himself.  He’s doing an Open University course and he wants to become something better when he comes out.

“It doesn’t take away what happened, but if there’s some hope or positive that we can take from it then we should grasp that.”

She is just one of 86 people in Lincolnshire who have chosen to engage with Restorative Solutions in the last year. Of those 16 involved direct contact with the offender and 11 indirect contact through letters and staff go-betweens.

In addition 59 people have engaged via restorative conversations which can be a single lengthy phone call but can involve months or years of work with a victim.

Cate Moore, Service Delivery Manager at Restorative Solutions, said the process was challenging for both the victim and offender but often proves to be a powerful and positive experience.

“Molly’s experience is very moving but is by no means unique. Dozens of people go through this process every year and the vast majority of both victims and offenders find it a powerful force for positive change.”

Restorative Justice is funded by Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioners Marc Jones.

He said: “It is crucial that I fund projects that both support the victims in their healing process and reduce re-offending the restorative justice process is proving its worth on both these counts.

“Molly’s story is both remarkable and moving and it is a clear example of the good that can be achieved through this process.”

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