DOUBLE FATALITY: Mother describes sentence as an insult after driver involved is sentenced

PUBLISHED: 15:32 05 August 2008 | UPDATED: 08:35 02 June 2010

A HEARTBROKEN mother who lost her daughter in a fatal road accident has called the decision to charge the car driver with careless driving as an insult. Helen Parker – whose 24-year-old daughter Suzanne died in the same accident that claimed the life o

A HEARTBROKEN mother who lost her daughter in a fatal road accident has called the decision to charge the car driver with careless driving as "an insult."

Helen Parker - whose 24-year-old daughter Suzanne died in the same accident that claimed the life of 31-year-old Richard Gilliatt, the son of former Wisbech Mayor Avis Gilliatt and the late Michael Gilliatt last November - blasted the decision in a victim statement given to police.

She said that the driver of the car they were travelling in, 21-year-old Charlotte Burrell, should have been charged with manslaughter or gross neglect. Her statement said the charge was "an insult to two lost lives."

Mrs Parker's heart rending statement was read out at Wisbech courthouse today, when Burrell, of Gedney Road, Long Sutton, admitted driving without due care and attention on the A1101 Sutton Road at Leverington on November 30.

Burrell was banned from driving for two years and fined £700 with £60 costs and a £15 surcharge.

The statement from Mrs Parker of Tydd St Mary said: "My grief is all consuming. The loss of our beautiful Suzanne is immeasurable. She added: "Twenty four years of loving and caring and nurturing, only to lose her."

All the Parker family have been badly hit by the tragedy, she said, Suzanne's twin sister Katherine puts flowers on her grave most mornings.

"Our hearts are broken beyond repair," she continued, and her husband Jack had lost his "best pal."

Mrs Gilliatt's victim statement said: "I feel part of me died with Richard. We will all miss his happy, noisy, fun living ways."

The family had attended counselling, to help deal with their grief, she said. Richard was a keen football fan and was planning a trip to Old Trafford with family. He had everything to live for, and was in line for promotion at work.

In Suzanne, Richard had found the girl he wanted to be with, said Mrs Gilliatt, and the loss of her son was "impossible."

Prosecutor John Nooijen said the accident happened as Burrell was driving her friends to bingo. She over reacted after failing to keep the correct course around a bend, south of the Gypsy Lane junction.

She braked on the bend, and the car pulled to the right, and veered to the opposite side of the road. She steered to the left, and the Renault Clio she was driving left the road and went into a ditch on the nearside, hitting a culvert and rolling over, coming to rest on its roof.

Suzanne Parker was the only person in the car not wearing a seat belt. But Mr Nooijen stressed the point that the coroner was told that it had made no difference.

Both Suzanne Parker and Richard Gilliatt, who had lived in Sutton Bridge, suffered from multiple injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene.

Burrell and a third passenger in the car, Kimberley Rawling, were taken to hospital. A blood sample taken from Burrell showed no trace of drink or drugs.

Representing Burrell, solicitor Roger Glazebrook told the court: "There was no defect in the road or the vehicle, so she accepts she is guilty.

"She can understand the feelings of the families; she understands exactly what they are saying."

Burrell was Suzanne Parker's best friend, he added, and was grateful to members of her family, who ensured she was able to sit in a front pew at her funeral.

"She is extremely sorry and sympathises with the family, sympathy is a small word, but it is heart felt," he said.

Burrell had undergone counselling and was taking anti-depressants and sleeping tablets, he added.

"Suzanne and Richard cannot be brought back, and she understands that the families, as she will, will feel this for the rest of their lives."

Sentencing Burrell, magistrates' chairman Susan Morris said: "This is a tragic situation, where two families have lost a son and daughter, and you have lost a friend.


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