Andy’s Story

In 2019, Andy’s son, Joe, was killed in a road traffic collision caused by a driver on his phone. The tragic loss left Andy feeling angry and confused. After two Restorative Justice meetings with the driver, Andy found forgiveness for the man who killed his son and says he’s a changed man. 

This story is not to be reproduced without the express permission of Why me?. We would like to thank the Lancashire Police Restorative Justice Team for their support to publish Andy’s story.


Before the death of his son, Andy had never heard of Restorative Justice. After the collision and early on in the criminal justice process, his Family Liaison Officer (FLO) brought it up to him. At that point, Andy wasn’t ready for a meeting. There was still a lot of uncertainty about why the collision had occurred, and he felt that he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to consider it. He didn’t want anything to do with the man who killed his son.

However, as the court process progressed – and it came to light that the driver had been using his mobile phone – Andy was left with unanswered questions that made him reconsider whether Restorative Justice was right for him.

Why did you want to take part? 

“In court, he was behind the screen. He didn’t get to speak. He didn’t really show any sort of emotion. There was just nothing.” Andy wanted to hear directly from the man, to learn whether he was sorry and hear his side of the story, but he wasn’t able to do that in court. 

“As time went on, I started to accept that Joe wasn’t going to come back. I needed answers: I needed to know why you chose to drive your van on your phone for that length of time. Why didn’t you come off it? How do you feel? These are questions I needed answering.”

After the trial, Andy’s FLO brought up Restorative Justice again, and this time, Andy agreed. 

“[My FLO] knew me really well. He read me how I was. And he brought it up when he thought the time was right.” Andy was ready to get answers.

Careful preparation 

Preparing for the conference was a slow and careful process. Facilitators asked Andy to consider what he wanted out of the experience and his preferences for the meeting. They also asked him questions about his mental health to ensure that the meeting was safe to go ahead.

“[The facilitators] took it really slowly. They were always asking questions, always in-depth questions as well, to see how I was mentally. It wasn’t rushed. It was all catered around me.”

Despite the extensive preparation, before the meeting Andy was, “very nervous, very scared, and I’ll be honest, very angry.”

Finding forgiveness through the restorative process

At the meeting, Andy was able to get the answers he needed. When they finished, Andy shook his hand.

Just a couple of days later, he called his facilitators with a request – he wanted to meet him again. 

“I wanted to go back and speak to him because I wanted to say: I forgive you. I forgive you for what you’ve done. I’d come away and I thought a lot about [the meeting] – the answers he’d given me, how he was, he showed remorse. And I went back and we sat and chatted, and I said, I forgive you for what you did. And that was through his honesty, through chatting, through that meeting. And I would never have thought I’d have done and said that. I never thought I’d forgive him.” 

What was the impact? 

These two meetings changed Andy completely. The Restorative Justice process helped him to recover and move on. “My wife said she’d got her husband back.” 

“You know, I still have my days where I’m down and it gets on top of me. But I have far more better days. And it’s all for having this meeting. It’s taken a long time, but I’m back to where I used to be, before Joe. It was the best thing I could have done. It helped me immensely.” 

He is a vocal advocate for other people affected by crime to take part in the process: “if you’re in the right frame of mind, do it, because it gets you the answers that you need.”

Remembering Joe 

“He had so much to give. And it was taken away by a bit of stupidity.” 

Joe was 14 years old and “such a cheeky lad – very devious.” He loved to tell jokes. Joe was autistic, and he was just beginning to come to terms with what this meant for him. He loved the Avengers, Doctor Who, and pugs. 

If you are interested in Restorative Justice, find your local Restorative Justice service through our map or learn more about how the process works. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please get in touch via

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