UNLESS you have lost someone in sudden, tragic circumstances, it’s hard to imagine how devastating it can be to have the life of a beloved friend or relative snatched away without warning.

The pain must surely be all the more raw when his or her death comes about through the mindless recklessness of another. And when that recklessness was the result of an act of deliberate criminality, it can be no surprise that relatives of the innocent victim feel utterly crushed.

The family of 71-year-old Kenneth Parratt, killed in a hit and run incident, are right to be angered by the sentence handed down to the uninsured driver who killed him as he crossed Idle Road.

The “cherished” grandfather of six and great-grandfather of four, had simply popped out to buy a takeaway meal.

He was hit by the van driven by 29-year-old Yasser Iqbal, of Norman Grove, Idle, who was not only driving without insurance but had been convicted previously for driving while banned on three occasions between 2007 and 2010.

Cowardly Iqbal callously fled the scene leaving his elderly victim to fend for himself.

Iqbal had been due to stand trial but instead entered a guilty plea to causing death by careless driving and was sentenced to just 15 months in prison. He had already admitted causing death by driving while uninsured and dangerous driving.

Mr Parratt’s daughter, Deborah, described the sentence as “abysmal”. She said: “They may as well not bother locking him up, the sentence is so short. It should be life for a life.”

As we all know, Mr Parratt’s killer will serve far less than his full term.

It is clear that the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, who was careful to explain that he was bound by legal guidelines, was acutely aware that such a sentence is not satisfactory.

The courts in Bradford are not soft on dangerous drivers. The judges are very sensitive to the fact that the city is plagued by reckless, often uninsured, young motorists with no regard whatever for the potentially lethal consequences of their behaviour.

Last week, Judge David Hatton QC locked up an 18-year-old who had read warnings in the Telegraph & Argus about the courts giving “no second chances” to offenders.

But judges’ hands are tied by the fact the law does not take seriously enough the issue of the reckless killing of innocent people by drivers who act with utter disregard for the horrendous outcome of their actions.

Not only are they not able to lock away such criminals for a period more fitting to the offence but people like Yasser Iqbal will be able to drive a car again in the future. Surely, at the very least, he should be banned for life?

When, as editor, I launched the T&A’s Stop the Danger Drivers campaign, it wasn’t just about prompting the highly-commendable crackdown that West Yorkshire Police has continued to pursue.

Our 10-point charter, which set out to try to effect real change, also called for stronger sentences for anyone convicted of dangerous or careless driving, among other tough measures.

More than 9,000 people – including myself on behalf of the T&A’s campaign – responded to a Government consultation during 2016-17 on driving offences that cause death and serious injury and the penalties imposed.

As a result, in October last year, the Government pledged to increase the maximum penalty for the offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life, and create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, “as soon as parliamentary time allows.”

Sadly, that would still mean that killers such as Yasser Iqbal would receive a prison sentence of no more than two years.

And families like those of Mr Parratt who, as Judge Durham Hall said “behaved impeccably and contributed to his family and community throughout his life”, will be left feeling that justice has not been served.

They deserve better.

* Firm is leading the way in our producer city drive

MANY congratulations to Baildon-based precision engineering firm Produmax for its success in winning a national award for staff and skills development.

The firm, which manufactures flight control components for major aerospace companies, has secured £20 million worth of new contracts, a 40 per cent increase in staff and a 32 per cent increase in productivity.

It is exactly the sort of business that can lead the way in Bradford’s Producer City drive and it’s a perfect illustration of what can be achieved with the right support. Long may it prosper.

* Great things could STEM from grasping this vital opportunity

AND on the subject of Producer City, it’s good to see Bradford Council taking the issue of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – teaching and training seriously, with a motion for a councillor to lead the way as a “STEM Champion” being discussed at City Hall today.

Developing understanding of STEM subjects and building related skills is absolutely crucial to growing the workforce the city needs to continue to expand its manufacturing industry.

A great deal of good work already goes on in schools and through Bradford University, which prides itself as a technology leader and understands the importance of such skills to the district’s future, but far more needs to be done.

Our higher-than-average young population is ideally suited to modern, creative, producer industries and the Council should grasp this initiative with both hands, recruit the private sector and lead the way.