Belfast Telegraph

Six months' jail for killer driver: Mum's heartbreak over teen daughter as speeding boyfriend is caged

By Michael Donnelly

A heartbroken mother whose teenage daughter was killed in a horrific crash in a car driven by her boyfriend said there was no amount of jail time for him that could ever bring her back.

Antrim Court heard that 19-year-old Ammie Rea died instantly when she was crushed by the roof of the Peugeot 206 being driven by her boyfriend of three months, 24-year-old Asda security guard Colin Balmer.

The former disqualified driver has been jailed for six months for causing her death.

Speaking from her home yesterday, her emotional mother said the length of time in prison was "irrelevant".

Tracey Rea told the Belfast Telegraph: "I feel comfort knowing he won't be driving for three years.

"The length of time in prison is irrelevant.

"No amount of time can ever bring back Ammie and I don't believe it is going to change his outlook whether it's three months, three years, whatever, it's not going to change."

She added: "Every day, every morning I lie in bed and I think of reasons why I have to get up and then I think of reasons why I don't want to get up – and I get strength thinking that Ammie is helping me through that."

Ms Rea described her daughter as her best friend.

Balmer was driving them to the Ballyclare Asda store where they both worked when the car skidded off the road, smashed through a fence and hit a tree. Balmer, from Staffa Drive, Ballymena, pleaded guilty to causing Ammie's death by careless driving on December 4, 2011 on the Ballymena Road on the outskirts of Doagh village, driving without insurance and frauduently using a motor tax disc from another car.

Jailing Balmer, Judge Desmond Marrinan said he accepted he had a "deep and genuine remorse for the catastrophe" of causing Ammie's death.

He said Ammie was someone who was having a strong and good influence on his life despite the short time they had been going out together.

Judge Marrinan said the "tragedy occurred when the defendant lost control of his car," adding later: "It is clear to me that the driver was driving too fast."

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