Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Aldershot runners' deaths: Soldier Michael Casey jailed

Lucy Pygott (left) and Stacey Burrows Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Lucy Pygott (left), 17, and Stacey Burrows, 16, were members of of Aldershot, Farnham and District Athletic Club

A soldier who was over the alcohol limit and speeding when he killed two teenage athletes has been jailed for six years.

Stacey Burrows, 16, and Lucy Pygott, 17, were out training in Aldershot, Hampshire, when they were run over by Michael Casey on 8 November.

He admitted causing their deaths by dangerous driving.

Casey, 24, said he had been distracted because a colleague had been sick in his car earlier that evening.

Winchester Crown Court heard the soldier had been driving his black Ford Focus at 40mph in a 30mph zone near his barracks and had been looking at his colleague's vomit in the moments before hitting the girls.

Casey, of St Paul's Road, Tottenham, London, said he then looked up to see a red traffic light at the crossing and "felt" a collision and saw the two girls in the road.

The court heard that in a police interview Casey admitted drinking three or four pints of lager as well as a two-pint pitcher of a cocktail called Godfather which contained three 25ml shots of Jack Daniels and the same amount of Disaronno Amaretto.

The court heard a friend who was on the crossing in Queen's Avenue with the girls had shouted at them to run when he realised the car was not going to stop.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Michael Casey appeared at Winchester Crown Court to enter his guilty plea

Lucy, who was from Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, had won a 3,000m bronze medal at the European Youth Championships in July while Stacey, from Farnborough, was the Hampshire under-17 3,000m champion.

In an impact statement read to the court, Lucy's mother, Lisa Pygott, said: "Mr Casey has broken our precious family, we are lost without Lucy.

"The British army trains soldiers to kill - Mr Casey killed with his loaded weapon of a hot-hatch car."

'Cried with fear'

Mrs Pygott described seeing her daughter's bloodied body after the crash and said: "That image traumatises me, it will stay with me until I die. No parent should ever have to see their innocent blameless child pointlessly killed."

Stacey's father, Lee, told the court he had just dropped his daughter off at the athletics club when he heard the crash.

He said: "I heard a loud bang and screams and ran down the steps frantically looking for Stacey only to be stopped by one of the parents who told me, 'it's Stacey'.

"Then I saw Stacey lying in the road with people trying to help her. I felt I died with Stacey that night, I cried with fear and I froze with shock."

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Casey, who pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.

His six-year jail term means he should be released on licence after three years.

As the sentence was announced, Stacey's mother shouted from the public gallery: "I do not get my daughter back in three years, do I?"

Following the hearing, an Army spokesman said: "All those who fall short of the Army's high standards can expect to be dealt with administratively up to and including dismissal from the service."

Image caption Dozens of floral tributes were left for Stacey and Lucy

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