August 1 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 24, 2014
A woman has been sentenced after causing the deaths of her partner’s two daughters in a Christmas crash.
Marie Easter, 44, of Herbert Ward Way in Terrington St Clement, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years and disqualified from driving for four years, with a compulsary re-test, at Norwich Crown Court on Friday.
Easter admitted two charges of causing death by dangerous driving last month.
Sisters Tamzin Portor, 10, and her seven-year-old sister Jessica died when a Ford Focus, which was being driven by their father Alan Portor’s partner Easter, swerved off the A47 at Walsoken and ended up in a ditch on December 27 2012.
Mr Portor suffered broken ribs, his son suffered cuts and bruises and Easter suffered head, neck and back injuries.
Easter told police that she had to swerve to avoid an oncoming red car, and this account was supported by a witness.
However, despite extensive media appeals and police inquiries this car was never traced.
Two further witnesses also disputed the existence of any other vehicle that could have caused the Focus to swerve, stating that the opposite carriageway had been clear.
A forensic collision investigation suggested that Jessica may not have been wearing her seatbelt and that this could have contributed to the injuries sustained by the children.
It also established that both rear tyres were defective with illegally low treads and the pressure across all four tyres was uneven, making it difficult for a driver to regain control of the Focus following a sharp manoeuvre.
Steve Matthews, of Norfolk Constabulary’s Serious Collision Investigation Team, said: “Other factors may have contributed to the severity of the collision, but ultimately Easter’s driving was substandard and caused the sisters’ deaths.
“Easter’s poor driving may well have been exacerbated by her poorly maintained vehicle. 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.
“Whilst we cannot definitively say that Jessica was not wearing her seatbelt, it showed no signs of having been worn in the collision.
“It is the responsibility of all drivers to ensure that any children in their vehicle are wearing their seatbelts. Their use cannot be emphasized enough – put quite simply, they save lives and should be put on as soon anyone gets into a vehicle.”