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10 years for lorry driver who killed four people

By Dominic Harris

A lorry driver who killed a woman and three children by ploughing into their stationary car while scrolling through music on his mobile phone has been jailed for 10 years.

Tomasz Kroker (30) smashed into the vehicle carrying Tracey Houghton (45), her sons Ethan (13) and Josh (11), and her stepdaughter Aimee Goldsmith (11) at 50mph on August 10.

Their car was shunted underneath the back of a heavy goods vehicle and crushed to a third of its size.

The crash immediately killed the family, who were from Bedfordshire, on the A34 dual carriageway north of Newbury in Berkshire.

Kroker, from Trajan Walk, Andover, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to four counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Reading Crown Court on October 10.

He was sentenced at the same court yesterday.

The court had heard that Kroker was so distracted by his phone that he barely looked at the road for almost a kilometre.

A man was seriously injured and four other people were hurt in the horrific accident.

Kroker broke down at the scene, crying and saying to himself: "I've killed them."

But he also tried to claim his brakes had failed. And when he was asked by his company the following day whether he had been distracted, he said: "Had radio on. Not tuning it. Not on phone." He refused to answer questions when interviewed by police, but when he was shown footage from his lorry's dash-cam, he admitted he had been distracted by playing with his phone.

Sentencing the lorry driver, judge Maura McGowan said no powers the court had would lessen the "terrible and devastating loss experienced in those affected".

The victims of the crash and their relatives dismissed Kroker's 10-year sentence - of which he will serve half behind bars - as "not doing justice" for the crime.

Speaking outside court on behalf of the family, Aimee's mother Kate Goldsmith said: "In our eyes, the sentence does not do justice to the crime committed."

Belfast Telegraph


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