Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 15:22 UK

Driver jailed for causing deaths

Shaun Waters
Shaun Waters's car was snaking across the A20 before the accident

A former soldier has been jailed for five years for causing an accident in which his car hit a lorry head-on, killing his two teenage passengers.

A witness told Maidstone Crown Court Shaun Waters, 22, was driving like a "total idiot" before the accident on the A20 in Kent in February last year.

Joseph Bunce, 17, and Daisy Washington, 14, died in the crash near Maidstone.

Judge James O'Mahony said on Friday that Waters, of Magpie Hall Road, Chatham, had shown limited remorse.

He said that even if he jailed him for 100 years, it would not atone for the loss suffered by Joseph and Daisy's families.

"If there was anything I could do to turn the clock back, I would," the judge said.

We miss her every day. It doesn't get any easier
Karen Washington

The jury, who found Waters guilty of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, heard he had two other passengers in his Ford Escort, his five-year-old stepdaughter and 15-year-old Elena Cowell.

He gave the teenagers a lift after picking up his stepdaughter from primary school.

The court was told he carried out several snaking moves on the road, between Charing Heath Road and Rayners Hill in Lenham.

He then lost control of the car, which careered on to a verge and across the carriageway into oncoming traffic, hitting the lorry.

His stepdaughter, who was the only passenger wearing a seatbelt, escaped injury.

Elena was seriously injured, and Waters himself suffered a hip fracture, nerve damage and loss of movement in his left leg.

Scene of the accident in Lenham (picture taken by Max Hess)
The teenagers died when the car hit the lorry head-on

Outside court, Daisy and Joseph's mothers were in tears as they said no prison sentence could ease their loss.

Karen Washington, 41, from Ashford, said she could never forgive Waters.

"Daisy was fun, outgoing and loved sport," she said. "She was always happy, always joking around."

"We miss her every day. It doesn't get any easier."

Lorraine Bunce, 44, from Maidstone, said: "I'm disappointed, but whether [the sentence] was longer or shorter would never have made up for what happened."

Waters was also disqualified from driving for seven years.

Acting Sgt Lorraine Silvester, of Kent Police, said: "So many people have been affected and traumatised by this collision and have the extremely difficult task of rebuilding their lives and living with their loss.

"This sentence today should be a strong message to everyone that the rules of the road are there for good reason."


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