Robert and Paula Bateman were travelling with their daughters, Lexi, ten, and 18-month-old Elizabeth when their Ford Focus smashed into Luke Norton’s van.
Both parents were reported dead at the location of the horror smash, while their two children survived.
Lexi was helped out of the Ford by Luke Norton, and tragically asked witnesses if her dad was still alive and to please let her mum be alive.
Luke Norton had binged on a considerable amount of cocaine and some heroin the night before the double tragedy on September 3 and when he was tested for drugs, he was four times the legal limit of benzoylecgonine, the main metabolite of cocaine.
He’s now been imprisoned for eight years and eight months after he admitted causing the deaths of Robert, 36, and Paula, 35, by dangerous driving.
The driver also pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle with an excess amount of the drug benzoylecgonine in his blood.
A charge of causing Lexi serious injuries by dangerous driving was dropped by prosecutors at Peterborough Crown Court.
Judge Sean Enright said that he’d robbed two children of their parents.
The court was told Luke Norton was completely disorientated when he got behind the wheel on the A142 between Chatteris and Mepal, Cambs.
He’d made 15 calls through the night between 10.17 pm on September 2 and 7.45 am the following day, including a 20-minute call at 5.15 am.
Luke Norton drove straight across the road and head-on into the Ford Focus at about 8 pm and when he was taken to hospital as a precaution, Luke Norton was sluggish and unable to stay awake.
He said he must have fallen asleep at the wheel but asserted he didn’t remember feeling tired or sleepy before the collision.
John Farmer, prosecuting, said that there was only one explanation, a medley of an absence of sleep, drugs, disorientation, and he disintegrated into falling asleep and that there was no steerage, no braking, he just drove across the road, into the darkness and that Mr Bateman had no time, hope or chance of doing anything.
In a victim impact statement, Paula’s mum Angela Harper paid tribute to her wonderful, caring and supportive daughter who was adored by all and she described how Lexi sat next to her dead father and watched her mother die while still having the compassion to look after her younger sister.
Angela Harper added that the two young girls were now at the epicentre of her life due to a person so irresponsible that they caused this terrible event which would affect them all and numerous others for the rest of their lives.
Was this murder? Of course, it was. This guy got behind the wheel of his vehicle, knowing that he’d taken drugs, yet still got behind the wheel of his van, and no way is this punishment long enough.
Those poor children now have no parents and that’s their life sentence and our justice system needs sorting out because the moment you get behind the wheel under the influence, you’re showing total disregard for any other road user or pedestrian.
A vehicle is a lethal weapon, particularly when the motorist is under the influence of drugs or drink and anyone who drives under the influence should have their licence taken away for life, as well as a jail sentence.
There are numerous people out there that kill with a gun or a knife, he just skilled himself with drugs and a car, no difference – he took lives and this was yet another Andrex judge on the bench giving out a far too lenient punishment.