A34 Family Speak After Killer HGV Driver Sentenced
1 November 2016, 14:34
The Bedfordshire family of a woman and three children killed by a lorry driver who was distracted by his phone have said his 10-year jail sentence "does not do justice to the crime committed".
Tomasz Kroker, 30, smashed into the vehicle carrying Dunstable mum Tracey Houghton, 45, her sons, Ethan Houghton, 13, and Josh Houghton, 11, and her stepdaughter, Aimee Goldsmith, 11, at 50mph on August 10.
The victims' relatives said Kroker's use of his phone turned his lorry into a "lethal weapon".
The court was packed with members of the victims' families and survivors of the crash, many of whom were in tears as prosecutor Charles Ward-Jackson recounted what happened that day.
As pictures and footage of the accident were shown to the court, some left the courtroom, rather than re-live the horrors.
Kroker himself wiped away tears and held his face in his hands as the more harrowing details of the incident were read out.
The court heard that, just an hour before the accident, Kroker had signed a declaration form while picking up the lorry from Andover, promising that he would not use a mobile phone at the wheel.
Prosecuting, Mr Ward-Jackson said he would have had an "excellent view of the road ahead" and, if he had been looking, would have seen a procession of seven lorries and cars slowing as the road rose uphill in front of him.
But instead he spent around 45 seconds looking at his phone as he scrolled through music, only occasionally glancing up and unaware that the traffic ahead had come to a stop.
Mr Ward-Jackson said:
"It was only at 0.75 second before that the dash-cam shows (Kroker) looking up with sudden horror on his face.
By now, of course, it was too late to take any avoiding action and the camera shows him dropping the phone, gripping the wheel and apparently bracing himself for the inevitable impact."