THE sentence of a lorry driver who ‘clapped sarcastically’ seconds before mowing down and killing a little boy cannot be changed, government officials say.

Dean Phoenix was given 12 months behind bars in April for causing the death of Jaiden Mangan at a Wareham pedestrian crossing.

Phoenix, now 44, was jailed for life in 2004 after murdering his wife Naomi at their home in Hounslow, west London. He was still on licence when he hit Jaiden, three, as the tot crossed the road on March 29 last year.

Jaiden’s dad James Mangan and other members of Jaiden’s family, including his grandmother, raced to the crossing after hearing of the crash.

Mr Mangan later told the Echo he has struggled to accept the jury’s verdict after Phoenix was cleared of death by dangerous driving. The defendant admitted death by careless driving.

The case was then referred to the Attorney General’s ‘unduly lenient sentence’ scheme. However, it will not be heard at the Court of Appeal, and Phoenix’s initial sentence will continue. This is because the case doesn’t fall into the parameters of the scheme.

Representatives for the Attorney General say referral orders under the scheme can only be made to the court if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available.

Mr Mangan told the Echo last month: “I understand that he [Phoenix] didn’t mean to do it – it wasn’t deliberate, it was a mistake. But he deserves longer in prison for what he did to my little boy.”

Phoenix, who lives in Chineham, Hampshire, was filmed sarcastically clapping a motorist in the moments before he hit Jaiden. He failed to notice the lights on a pedestrian crossing had changed to red to allow Jaiden and his family to cross when the tragedy happened.

The defendant had become frustrated after his delivery lorry was blocked by a car parked illegally on the zig zag lines of the crossing.