Ex-Argyle keeper who drove 'like an idiot' jailed for seven years
Former Plymouth Argyle footballer Luke McCormick was jailed for seven years and four months today for killing two young boys as he drove “like an idiot”.
Arron Peak, 10, and his brother Ben, eight, were on a dream day out when former Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Luke McCormick ploughed into their car in his powerful black Range Rover.
McCormick, who was more than twice the drink drive limit as he drove home from a team-mate’s wedding, finally admitted causing death by dangerous driving when he appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court this morning.
The 25-year-old also admitted a charge of driving with excess alcohol.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Relatives of the deceased Peak brothers punched the air and shouted ``yes'' when Judge Paul Glenn imposed his sentence.
The boys’ parents, Phil and Amanda, cried silently.
McCormick, who had his head in his hands during the court hearing, looked shell shocked and was led away by two security guards.
The brothers, from Partington in Manchester, were travelling along the M6 in Staffordshire when the crash happened shortly before 5.45am on June 7.
They were on their way to Silverstone racetrack for a day out with their father Phil Peak and three friends when their Toyota Previa people carrier was hit.
Mr Peak, 37, was at the wheel of the Toyota and was seriously injured in the crash.
The boys’ mother, Amanda Peak, sobbed loudly as the court heard details of the crash today.
McCormick, dressed in a dark suit, kept his head bowed and covered his face with his hand as it was revealed he told eyewitnesses at the scene: “I am so sorry, I’m sorry. I just fell asleep. I fell asleep, I’m sorry.”
Prior to the collision, other motorists noticed McCormick “driving like an idiot” and estimated his speed at around 90mph, the court heard.
After the crash, he was found to have 74 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
Coventry-born McCormick, who was confronted by angry relatives of Ben and Arron when he arrived at court today, is a former England youth international and was twice voted Argyle’s young player of the season.
He was also disqualified from driving for four years for causing death by dangerous driving.
Judge Paul Glenn imposed no separate penalty for drink driving but imposed a two year driving ban.
The court heard that McCormick was on his way to “sort out his love life” when the devastating crash happened.
John Jones QC, for the defence, said he was attending the wedding of former teammate David Norris in Bolton when he became upset at being “reminded” about malicious internet rumours concerning his fiancee’s alleged infidelity.
Emails and remarks were posted on the social networking site Facebook about his fiancee, Mr Jones said.
He told the court: “The tenor of those emails and photographs was that his fiancee had been unfaithful. Such inferences were entirely false.”
McCormick was seen openly crying at the wedding reception held in Rivington Barn, Bolton, and admitted to friends he felt ashamed for doing so.
His contract with Argyle was cancelled by “mutual consent” a month after the crash.
In a victim statement submitted to the judge, Mr and Mrs Peak, told how their lives had been “totally devastated” by the deaths of their only children.
The couple wrote: “Our whole lives have been shattered ... all our hopes and dreams for the future have been taken away from us.”
The court heard that McCormick sobbed “uncontrollably” at the police station after his arrest.
John Jones, defending, said McCormick had become introverted and suffered from nightmares and flashbacks of the crash.
He said: “He was a professional footballer with a potentially glittering future.
“His career would have developed; the rewards in every sense of the word would be limitless.
“That was lost and indeed lost forever.
“The Luke McCormick who appears before you today is a shadow of his former self.”
Judge Paul Glenn jailed McCormick for seven years and four months.
The maximum penalty is 14 years.
Outside the court PC Andy Kavanagh read a statement on behalf of Mr and Mrs Peak outside court.
The couple said: “We are pleased that at last Luke McCormick decided to face up to the fact he has caused the deaths of Arron and Ben.
“However, we are disappointed to discover that he will be eligible for parole after only three and a half years.
“In court his barrister spoke of the effect this case has had on Luke. We find this offensive.
“He will restart his life when he is still a young man. Our sons will never experience the things Luke has had.
“Phil will carry the scars of the incident for life. We will both carry the emotional scars forever.”
McCormick could have admitted the offences at a previous hearing but chose not to, forcing Ben and Arron’s family to return to court today.
my boys has been heartbreaking'
For more news and pictures see tomorrow's edition of The Herald