HomeWorldMoment drink-driver who killed Irish woman’s baby tells cops: ‘I’m not a...

Moment drink-driver who killed Irish woman’s baby tells cops: ‘I’m not a bad person’


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Darryl Anderson (38) was jailed for 17 years in England this week for causing the horror smash.

The court heard how he did not help mother Shalorna Warner frantically look for her baby son Zackary Blades who had been flung from her car and on to the opposite carriageway of the A1.

The horrific crash between Chester-le-Street and Durham at 3.15am on May 31 also killed Ms Warner’s sister Karlene, a flight attendant.

Anderson was filmed on police bodycam as he is breathalysed.

He can be seen failing the test and telling police: “I’ve drove into the back of another car, sometimes mistakes happen” while insisting: “I’m not a bad person”.

Durham Crown Court heard that Zackary and Karlene, 30, were killed instantly in the crash which destroyed the back of Shalorna Warner’s Peugeot 308.

Analysis of the computer in Anderson’s Audi Q5 showed he had his accelerator pedal fully to the floor and did not brake before impact.

When he took a photo on his mobile phone to show off his speed, the Peugeot could be seen in the picture, as well as a collision warning light illuminated on his dashboard.

Anderson lied and told police that a hitchhiker was behind the wheel when his powerful SUV slammed into Ms Warner’s car.

Anderson is breathalysed

But he pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving at a hearing last week.

Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said a roadside breath test showed Anderson was almost three times over the drink-drive limit.

He had been drinking on the plane home from a holiday he curtailed after his erratic behaviour made his wife leave separately, the court heard.

Police found an empty vodka bottle in his car.

Witnesses saw him driving dangerously in the 20 miles he had travelled from Newcastle Airport before the collision, and analysis showed he sent messages on WhatsApp.

Sharlona Warner had also been to the airport to pick up her sister from a holiday, with her son secured in the rear of her car.

Ms Warner made a victim impact statement, along with her father Nigel and Karlene’s partner, Kieran Hutchinson.

Wiping tears from her face, the devastated mother said she remembered the impact which sent her car spinning.

She looked to her left to see Karlene clearly badly injured in the passenger air bag but knew she had to try to help Zackary, calling to Karlene: “I will come back for you”.

Ms Warner said: “I ran to the left rear side of the car where Zackary would have been, but there was no back of the car, it was crushed.

“I could not see my baby, I was standing on wreckage, picking up smashed bits of the car and throwing them, trying to find him but he was not there. I was screaming his name and I called 999.

“I saw the other driver and I ran to him and said: ‘Help, I cannot find my baby. I was screaming Zack, Zack’.

“He did not help, he never helped. I began running up to the traffic waving my arms and screaming at cars to help me.”

She told the court she was in the road picking up pieces of debris, trying to find Zackary’s car seat, and that a lorry driver eventually found him on the other side of the carriageway.

She said: “I heard a painful scream from the lorry driver, he was shouting ‘he’s here, your baby is here.’ I ran over and I found Zackary on the grass.

She said: “I knew instantly. I had to pick my dead baby up from the side of the road. I hugged him so tight, a hug I will never forget.

“No words will surmount the irreparable hole that has been left in my heart and in my life.

“Zackary was my rainbow baby – he was the light at the end of a tunnel of a very dark time for me and brought joy, happiness and laughter into my life.

“My baby’s future, my future, our life together, has been stolen from me.

“And for my sister Karlene, I just have no words. I am so sorry this happened to you. It’s hard to process something that doesn’t seem real – it just feels like I am living a nightmare.

“I will feel the ripples of this pain for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I will be able to get through this – I am scarred, I am traumatised, I am petrified to live my life.”

Turning to Anderson, who refused to lift his head, she said: “You have left a broken shell of a woman and a childless mother.”

“The impact of these events will amplify the hard times and taint any good moment I may possibly have, because within my heart lives Zackary and Karlene, and I will never live a normal life again without them.”

She added: “This guilt is not mine to bear – this guilt is owed to the person that caused this infinite agony. I hope the pain of this weighs them down for all eternity.

“Nothing will bring my son and my sister back to me. The only way forward for myself is if the defendant faces the same sentence I am facing – life. The irony of it all is that I will never see my loved ones again, but he will.”

Baby Zack

Around 50 friends and family members of the two victims were in court for the sentencing.

Judge Joanne Kidd jailed Anderson for 17 years and three months and banned him from driving for a further 21 and a half years after he is released.

Judge Kidd told Anderson he had been playing “Russian roulette” with the lives of other drivers that night and a crash was inevitable.

“The level of your intoxication, your aggressive and entitled driving, your speed and the use of your phone made it inevitable you would come into collision with another road user.

“At a speed of 140 miles per hour, with your foot fully depressed on the accelerator you were inevitably going to cause serious injury and the probability of a fatality.”

Richard Dawson, defending, said Anderson, who was married and has a daughter, was “profoundly sorry”.

Outside court, Detective Constable Natalie Horner, of Durham Constabulary’s Collision Investigation Unit, said: “As roads policing officers, we routinely ask people not to drive above the speed limit.

“We routinely ask people not to use their mobile phones while driving. And we routinely ask people not to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

“Darryl Anderson was doing all three of those things when he collided with Shalorna Warner’s car, killing both passengers, Karlene and baby Zackary.

“For his actions, Anderson has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison, but it is his victims and their family who have been handed life sentences.

“It is them who will spend the rest of their lives grieving the loss of their son, their grandchild, their wife, their sister and their mother. And for what?”

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