Family’s call to change the law in Harry’s name

Harry Whitlam who died in an accident at Swithens Farm, Rothwell.
Harry Whitlam who died in an accident at Swithens Farm, Rothwell.

The family of an 11-year-old boy hit and killed by a tractor have called for a change in the law which prevents over the limit drivers from being prosecuted when driving on private roads.

The driver was reversing his tractor and slurry trailer on Swithens Farm in Rothwell, when it struck Harry, causing fatal injuries.

He was flown to Leeds General Infirmary by Yorkshire Air Ambulance, but despite all efforts made, Harry died from his injuries.

The driver was more than twice the legal drink drive limit, but due to a loophole in the law, he could not be prosecuted because he was driving on private land.

Now the family, with the help of solicitors Switalskis, are hoping to create Whitlam’s Law - where there is no distinction between private or public land if someone is found to be in charge of a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Pamela Whitlam, Harry’s mum, said: “We are hoping to change the law as I don’t believe there to be any difference that if someone is drink driving, where ever they are, they should be prosecuted - whether they are on public land or private.

“There is a big loop hole in the legal system and it is completely wrong.

“I don’t want Harry to be used as an example for drivers to get out of being prosecuted.

“I would much rather see Harry’s name used to save people’s lives, close this legal loophole and change the law than be used to acquit drivers, leaving them to re-offend.”

*The Observer & Advertiser are supporting the Whitlam’s Law campaign and have started an online petition.

To add your support, visit

And also support the campaign on Twitter by using #Whitlamslaw.