The parents of two promising teenage athletes have given “harrowing and heart-rending” accounts of the impact of their loss as a drunken soldier was jailed for six years for killing them by crashing into them while distracted by vomit in his car.
Michael Casey, of St Paul’s Road, Tottenham, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court for causing the deaths of Stacey Burrows, 16, and Lucy Pygott, 17.
The 24-year-old, of 4 Rifles, had been out drinking with colleagues and was over the drink-drive limit when the accident happened at a pedestrian crossing near his barracks in Aldershot, Hampshire, on November 8.
The court heard that he did not see the red light at the crossing because he was distracted by vomit left in the passenger area of the car by a colleague who had been sick during a lift home.
Casey was given a six-year jail sentence which means he should be released on licence after three years.
As the sentence was announced by Judge Keith Cutler, Stacey’s mother Helen Burrows cried out from the public gallery: “I do not get my daughter back in three years, do I?”
Reading her victim impact statement to the court, Lucy’s mother Lisa Pygott said: “Mr Casey has broken our precious family, we are lost without Lucy.
“The British Army trains soldiers to kill, Mr Casey killed with his loaded weapon of a hot hatch car.”
Describing seeing her daughter’s body after the accident, Mrs Pygott said: “That image traumatises me, it will stay with me until I die.
"No parent should ever have to see their innocent, blameless child pointlessly killed.”
Speaking of her family’s “constant and unremitting pain”, she added: “Our lives are bleak and dark without her.”
Stacey’s father, Lee, described how he had dropped his daughter off for a training session with the Aldershot, Farnham and District (AFD) Athletic Club when he heard the impact of the crash that killed her.
He said: “I saw Stacey lying in the road with people trying to help her, I felt I died with Stacey that night, I cried with fear and I froze with shock.”
Describing the impact on the family, Mr Burrows added: “We just miss her so much it’s painful.”
James Newton-Price, defending, said Casey’s career in the army, which included a six-month tour of Afghanistan, was now over because of the case.
He added: “He wishes it to be known that he accepts full and total responsibility for what he has done and the loss and damage he has caused.”
Reading his client’s words, he added: “I cannot even imagine the pain and suffering you are going through. I will never forgive myself for my actions… I am truly sorry.”