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Tyres had illegal tread in car crash that killed two young girls

16:48 24 January 2014

Jessica Portor. Picture: Norfolk Police

Jessica Portor. Picture: Norfolk Police

Archant

Two young sisters tragically died after their father’s new partner suddenly lost control of her car, which had defective tyres and veered off the road, a court heard.

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Jessica Portor, 7, and Tamzin, 10, were visiting their father Allan over the Christmas break when the Ford Focus crashed into a ditch and rolled into a wooden gate, on the A47, at Walsoken.

Norwich Crown Court heard that two tyres on the car had illegal tread and all four tyres had been wrongly pressurised which a police accident investigator said could have contributed to the accident along with the damp road surface.

The girls suffered serious head injuries and despite efforts of paramedics were pronounced dead at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The court heard that one of the girls was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Driver Marie Easter, 44, suffered minor injuries and the girl’s father Allan suffered broken ribs. The girls brother Liam, 12, also suffered some minor injuries.

At first Easter claimed she swerved to avoid an oncoming car. But Lindsay Cox, prosecuting, said that witnesses said there was no other vehicle involved and no obvious reason why Easter made the dramatic manoeuvre.

Mr Cox said that an engineer from RAF Marham, Nathan Tiley, helped release the three children, who were trapped in the back of the car.

Mr Cox said that the tread depths on two of the tyres were illegal and the tyre pressures were wildly divergent. He said that this along with the damp road could have contributed to the crash. He said that Easter claimed she had booked her car into a local garage to get the tyres checked but Mr Cox said although she had made a booking, she had failed to keep the appointment

Easter, of Herbert Ward Way, Terrington St Clement, admitted two counts of causing death by careless driving on December 27, 2012.

The court heard she loved the girls as if they were her own and was still with the girls’ father.

Judge Mark Lucraft imposed a 15 month sentence suspended for two years and imposed a four year driving ban, even though she said she never wants to drive again.

He said she was full of remorse and had described the accident and the loss of the girls as “having her heart ripped out.”

He said ”You said ‘I loved those girls as if they were my own and my life will never be the same.”

He added: “This was a tragic event. You describe the two girls as being beautiful and full of life who brought joy to all they met. Whatever sentence I pass cannot undo what was done.”

He also commended the RAF engineer for his actions at the crash scene.

Neil Guest for Easter, said she was still suffering both physically and mentally .

“She is a broken woman. This is a matter which will live with her every day of her life until that life ends.”

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