A woman who admitted causing the deaths of two of her partner’s children in a crash on the A47 has been left “broken” by what happened, a court has heard.
Marie Easter, 44, of Herbert Ward Way, Terrington St Clement, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, during a hearing at Norwich Crown Court on Friday.
She had admitted at an earlier hearing causing the deaths of 10-year-old Tamzin Portor and her sister Jessica, who was seven, by careless driving on the A47 at Walsoken on the evening of December 27, 2012.
Passing sentence, Judge Mark Lucraft QC told her: “Two young girls who you described as beautiful and full of life were killed and no sentence I pass can undo what was done.”
He 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.”
The court heard that Easter, her partner, Allan Portor, and three of his 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 came to rest in an adjacent field against a gate.
Tamzin and Jessica both suffered multiple injuries and were later pronounced dead at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Their elder brother escaped with minor injuries.
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.
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.