Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Monday, 6 October 2008 14:23 UK

Death crash footballer is jailed

Luke McCormick -archive picture
McCormick is said to have driven "like an idiot"

A professional footballer has been jailed for seven years and four months for killing two children in a crash.

Former Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Luke McCormick, 25, admitted causing the deaths of Arron Peak, 10, and Ben Peak, eight, and driving with excess alcohol.

The brothers, from Partington, Greater Manchester, died in a crash on the M6 in Staffordshire on 7 June.

Stoke Crown Court heard McCormick had driven "like an idiot". The boys' parents said they were scarred forever.

The court also heard McCormick, who was returning from a wedding, had ignored a plea from a friend to stop driving and pull over at services.

We will both carry the emotional scars forever
Philip and Amanda Peak

Friends and relatives of the boys' family jeered McCormick as he arrived at court.

In a victim impact statement the boys' parents, Philip and Amanda Peak, said their lives had been shattered by the accident.

Philip Peak remains in a wheelchair and wears a neckbrace. He suffered spinal and lung injuries in the crash and may need further surgery.

Mr and Mrs Peak said they were disappointed McCormick would be eligible for parole in three-and-a-half years' time.

"In court, his barrister spoke of the effect this case has had on Luke. We find this offensive.

"Phil will carry the scars of the incident for life. We will both carry the emotional scars forever," they said.

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CCTV of Luke McCormick's car before the crash

The court heard that when breathalysed McCormick was found to have 74 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

The brothers and their father Philip Peak, 37, were in a Toyota Previa with friends, travelling to Silverstone racetrack, when the crash happened.

Their car was involved in a collision with McCormick's Range Rover at about 0545 BST on the southbound carriageway of the motorway between junctions 15 and 16, near Keele services.

The Peak family
Friends and relatives of the Peak family were at the court

Mr Peak, 37, who was driving, was seriously injured in the crash.

McCormick kept his head bowed and covered his face with his hand as the court heard he had told eyewitnesses at the crash scene: "I am so sorry, I'm sorry. I just fell asleep. I fell asleep, I'm sorry."

Before the accident other motorists noticed him "driving like an idiot" and estimated his speed at around 90mph (144km/h).

In mitigation, John Jones told the court he had been on his way to "sort out his love life," when the crash happened.

'Speed and alcohol'

He had been at a teammate David Norris's wedding in Bolton when he became upset about rumours of his fiancee's alleged infidelity which had been posted on the internet.

He was seen drinking beer and downing shots of sambuca before leaving the reception at 0200 BST. He got two hours sleep before getting up and leaving for Coventry.

The court heard he ignored a telephone plea from his room-mate to stop driving and pull over at services.

McCormick, a former England youth international, had his contract with Championship side Plymouth cancelled by mutual consent a month after the crash.

He was disqualified from driving for four years for causing death by dangerous driving.

Sgt Steve Robinson of the Central Motorway Police Group said McCormick had nearly collided with several people before the crash took place.

"I am shocked at the speed and the alcohol," he said.

"If he had only stopped, this tragedy could have been avoided."




SEE ALSO
'Our lives have been shattered'
06 Oct 08 |  England
Plymouth end McCormick contract
22 Jul 08 |  Plymouth
Player charged after crash deaths
08 Jun 08 |  Staffordshire
Footballer held over death crash
08 Jun 08 |  Staffordshire

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