July 14, 2017 10:50 am
Updated: July 14, 2017 12:54 pm

Jinghao Zhou sentenced to 7 years for drunk-driving death of Gloria Chivers

Jinghao Zhou

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The man who killed a London Free Press carrier while driving drunk late last year has been sentenced to seven years behind bars.

Jinghao Zhou, a 24-year-old Chinese national, received a six-year sentence after pleading guilty to impaired driving causing death in the crash that killed 60-year-old Gloria Chivers last November.

READ MORE: Widower of London Free Press carrier pens emotional statement read in court Thursday

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He also faces an extra year in prison for immigration charges, stemming from the use of falsified documents to stay in Canada after he struggled and failed to succeed at school.

“My brother and I are very happy with the sentence,” Ruth Summerhill, Gloria’s sister, said outside of the courthouse Friday.

“I too believe that [Zhou] was very remorseful. My heart goes out to him and his family. He didn’t go out purposefully to kill Gloria that night, and he made a fateful error that’s caused shame on his country and his family and our families.”

Milton Brock, a brother to Ruth and Gloria, told reporters that his sister woke up early every morning and enjoyed her job as a long-time newspaper carrier.

“I never even expected it was her,” he said. “She was such a careful driver.”

Zhou’s defence lawyer, Jim Dean, said he’s disappointed with the outcome after asking for a global sentence of between four to six years for all three convictions.

“I understand the general deterrence, but particularly in this case with the difficulties my client has with the culture, the language, it’s going to be a much more difficult and longer process for him,” he said.

Zhou’s parents, who don’t speak English, have left their jobs in China and are in Canada on 10-year visas; they plan to stay in the country for the duration of their son’s sentence.

“They’re here for the long haul, however long that be, so I think everybody is just focused on when is it going to be over… when’s the Canadian part going to be over,” Dean said.

READ MORE: 5-year prison sentence for drunk driving crash that killed Western University student

Chris Chivers’, Gloria’s husband, wasn’t in the courthouse on Friday. He submitted an emotional impact statement read during an earlier hearing, describing how Zhou wrecked his life, how he no longer had anyone to love, and how he wasn’t even able to see his wife’s body after the crash.

“The depth of his pain and anger is understandable,” said Justice Thomas McKay, as he handed down the sentence.

Zhou had been travelling 188 km/h — full throttle — at the time of collision at the intersection of Richmond Street and Sunningdale Road at 2:45 a.m. November 24, 2016. Chivers’ Pontiac Sunfire came to a rest 91 metres from the point of impact, while the rented Dodge Durango Zhou had been driving came to a stop over 188 metres away.

McKay called the circumstances of Chivers death “horrific”, but unintentional. He noted Zhou’s remorse from an earlier statement.

“He questioned if he was worthy of continuing to live.”

Zhou arrived in Canada with a student visa in Vancouver on Aug. 22, 2013, and attended Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. for a month. He dropped out and applied to King’s University in London and was accepted but was required to take ESL courses. He failed at Fanshawe College, enrolled in the London Language Institute, but did not attend or take any tests.

Zhou met a contact in an internet chat group and paid him $17,500 for a work permit, with documents falsified to say he had a two-year degree in International Business from Seneca College. He also paid someone $45,000 to start up a fish and tackle business for him in London, which closed in September 2016.

He’ll be deported to China immediately after his sentence is served, or if he’s granted parole.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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