Police chiefs have pleaded for motorists to maintain their vehicles properly after a woman admitted causing the deaths of two of her partner’s children by careless driving.
Norwich Crown Court was told on Friday that the Ford Focus driven by Marie Easter on the night of the tragedy in which Tamzin and Jessica Portor died in December 2012 had two defective rear tyres, with tread that did not meet the minimum legal requirement.
All the tyres had been inflated unevenly, a factor crash investigators said would have made it very difficult for Easter to regain control of the car once it began to veer off the road. The court was also told Jessica was not wearing a seatbelt.
Steve Matthews, of the Norfolk Police serious collision investigation team, said that, although “substandard” driving by Easter caused the accident, the faults on the car may have made the impact much worse.
He said: “It is vital that tyres are checked regularly for both pressure and tread, as well as carrying out other basic maintenance like topping up washers and getting windscreen chips repaired.
“What may seem a minor fault with your vehicle could have far more serious consequences.”
The court heard that Easter had claimed she took the car to a garage in Clenchwarton, IMF Engineering, where it was examined by a worker named only as Jimmy, who later died.
But the garage said they had never employed anyone of that name and had never carried out work on the Focus, although it had been booked in to have a new wheel bearing fitted a few days before the crash.
However, Easter’s barrister Neil Guest submitted a receipt from the garage which he said showed the work had been done.