Leeds & West Yorkshire

Harry Whitlam death: MP calls for change in law

Harry Whitlam Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Harry Whitlam was knocked down by a tractor driven on a farm by Gary Green

An MP has called for a change in the law to allow people to be prosecuted for drink-driving on private land.

It comes after the death of 11-year-old Harry Whitlam, who was knocked down and killed by a tractor driver on a farm near Leeds in August 2013.

Gary Green had more than twice the legal alcohol level in his system for driving on roads, but could only be prosecuted over health and safety.

Alec Shelbrooke, MP for Elmet and Rothwell, raised it in the Commons.

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Transport Minister John Hayes said in reply: "I will consider how we might address this, including the possibility of future legislative reform."

Green, 51, was jailed for 16 months and two weeks at Leeds Crown Court after admitting failing to ensure the safety of others.

During an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), inspectors found Harry had been walking towards a worker in a closed-off area at Swithens Farm in Rothwell, when Green reversed into him at about 09:15 on 9 August.

HSE inspector Julian Franklin said it was "an extremely tragic case" and described Green's behaviour as "reckless".

Image caption Harry was in a closed-off area of the farm when the tractor struck him

Harry's mother Pam Whitlam, who worked at the farm's cafe, said "Whitlam's Law" could be a way of making sure her son's death made a difference.

"For his name to live on and do good then yes, that's what we want," she said.

Harry's sister Rachel Whitlam said: "I can't believe it has been nearly four years.

"He was so loud and he was lovely, the typical little brother that will torment you and play pranks on you.

"To think he would be in his teenage years now and in high school, it's crazy."

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