A woman whose car veered off the A47 and crashed into a ditch, killing two young children in the back, has been given a suspended jail sentence today, Friday January 24.
Marie Easter, 44, of Herbert Ward Way, Terrington St Clement, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, at Norwich Crown Court this afternoon.
She had pleaded guilty to two charges of causing death by careless driving at an earlier hearing, having previously denied the allegations.
She was also banned from driving for four years and told she would have to take an extended re-test.
Passing sentence, Judge Mark Lucraft QC said he had taken the impact of the incident upon her into account.
But he added: “Two young girls who you described as beautiful and full of life were killed and no sentence I pass can undo what was done.”
The judge also read an extract of a letter Easter had written to him, in which she said: “I loved those girls like they were my own and I will never forgive myself.”
Easter had been driving a Ford Focus when the accident happened on the A47 at Walsoken on the evening of December 27, 2012.
Ten-year-old Tamzin Portor and her seven-year-old sister Jessica were killed in the crash. Their elder brother suffered minor injuries
The court heard that Easter, her partner Allan Portor and the children had been on their way to the cinema in Peterborough when the crash happened.
Witnesses described seeing the Focus turn sharply before leaving the road and crashing into a ditch. The vehicle eventually came to rest in an adjacent field against a gate.
Lindsay Cox, prosecuting, said Easter had told police she swerved to avoid a head-on collision with an oncoming car. However, other drivers in the area at the time said there was no other vehicle that would have caused her to take avoiding action.
He said the reason why Easter had made the manouvere would never be known.
The court was also told that Jessica had not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, while two of the car’s tyres were defective and all of them had been inflated unevenly, which investigators said would have been a factor in the crash.
Neil Guest, mitigating, said his client remained convinced there was another car heading towards her at the time of the crash, but she accepted she may have been mistaken.
He said Easter, who had been driving since the late 1990s with only two minor offences on her record, had made a “fatal misjudgement” which had left her “a broken woman.”
He added that it was unlikely she would drive again.