The parents of a motorcyclist killed when a van collided into his bike are calling for tougher sentences for people who use their mobile phones while driving.

Haydon Bridge couple Mark and Christine McGovern have launched a petition after their son Louis (30) died after the van Kurt Sammon was driving collided into him on a junction in Stockport on January 15, 2019. This week, a court heard Sammon had skipped a red light, and there was evidence the driver had used his phone throughout the journey.

Louis, a geo-technical engineer, died in hospital from his injuries the next day.

At Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court on Tuesday, Sammon (54), of Stockport, who was found guilty of causing by dangerous driving by a jury in April, was sentenced to seven years in jail.

The court heard during the hearing that Sammon made and received several Whatsapp messages during his journey before the crash.

He had also attempted to make two outgoing calls which didn’t connect. A further phone call did connect, lasting 57 seconds.

Sammon has been convicted of a series of driving offences, and at one period in 2002 had 49 penalty points, the court heard.

Sammon hit and killed a 13-year-old boy in February 2004.

He was sentenced to six months in jail and was disqualified from driving for five years.

Sammon committed further driving offences between 2016-2018, including two occasions of using a mobile phone whilst driving.

Stuart Neale, defending, said Sammon was remorseful for his actions.

In a statement read to the court by Mr Neale, Sammon said: “I wish time could be put back.”

Sammon added whilst he still doesn’t accept he was driving dangerously that day, he does accept that because of his actions somebody lost their life.

Judge Maurice Greene, sentencing, said: “I am satisfied that you were using this mobile phone unlawfully by holding it in your hand.”

She added there was “ample time” for Sammon to stop his vehicle if he had paid attention.

“You are 54 now and you have an appalling driving record,” Judge Greene told Sammon.

He was also disqualified from driving for a period totalling 13-and-a-half years.

Louis’ parents, who live in Haydon Bridge, have launched a petition to increase penalties for drivers holding or using mobile phones.

Louis’ father, Mark McGovern, said: “Driving while using a mobile phone attracts only six points on a licence and a £200 fine - the maximum sentence for mobile phone use while driving.

“This is simply an insufficient deterrent and does not reflect the risks to other road users, particularly cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

“We want to see penalties on a par with those for drink-driving and a mandatory ban for anyone caught using their phone while driving.”

Christine McGovern, Louis’ mother, said: “Louis was an experienced motorcyclist with an exemplary driving record.

“He was riding home on his motorbike for his tea with his partner Lauren and to continue working on his house.

“He never made it.”

Mark added: “Whatever the sentence imposed on Kurt Sammon, it will not bring Louis back.

“But we hope people will be sufficiently angry to sign our petition when they learn about he leniency of our courts in this area, despite the use of mobile phones while driving - including texting - now being commonplace.

“We want a change in the law, so that driving while using a mobile phone is recognised as being as dangerous as drink-driving.

“It could make a difference and prevent other families from living through what we have experienced.

“People who knew Louis know he was a good person.

“He did not deserve to be killed. He is such a miss.”

To sign the petition, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/584636.