Death by dangerous driving
A lorry driver has been sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, after two school friends died in a road traffic collision near Burton on Trent.
His Honour Judge Glenn, presiding at Stafford Crown Court today sentenced Robert Murray from Wrockwardine Wood in Telford to four-and-a-half years in jail.
Sentencing had been adjourned from November 20th 2006, when a jury found Murray guilty of two charges of death by dangerous driving.
Thirteen-year-old Rebecca Casterton and twelve-year-old Lauren Brooks died when the car they were travelling in was in collision with a lorry, driven by Murray. The accident happened on the southbound carriageway of the busy A38 at around 6pm on Friday 20th January 2006.
The two friends, both pupils at John Taylor High School in Barton-under-Needwood, were returning from a horse riding lesson when the accident happened.
The girls had been rear seat passengers in the car, driven by Lauren's mother, Mrs Irene Corrie. The impact of the crash caused their car to swerve violently and overturn with such force that it somersaulted over the central crash barrier, landing on the opposite carriageway. It was then hit by another car before finally coming to rest.
Mrs Corrie and another passenger survived the accident but sadly Rebecca died at the scene and Lauren died later in hospital.
The jury heard that Murray had been using a mobile phone without a hands-free kit moments before the collision. Prosecutors claimed that Murray had been calling his wife and that he had been distracted having made the call or by what he did with the handset afterwards.
Speaking after today's sentencing, Rebecca Casterton's mother, Miss Ruth Anslow, said: "Whilst I welcome today's sentence, nothing will ever be the same again as a result of his actions that night. My family has been torn apart by what happened."
Wendy Nixson, a solicitor with national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, who is representing Miss Anslow, said: "This is a tragic but all too familiar story of a driver failing to take appropriate care on the road.
"Although there has been a ban on using hand held mobile phones whilst driving for more than three years now, too many drivers still think they are above the law and that it doesn't apply to them. On this occasion, the distraction of using a hand held mobile and a moment's lapse of concentration led to the loss of two young lives."
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