Hit-and-run killer jailed for 11 years

A hit-and-run driver was jailed for 11 years today for causing the death of a mother, her daughter and a five-year-old child while high on drink and drugs.

Dean Martin, 23, pleaded guilty to killing Anne Martin (no relation), 39, her daughter Ashley, aged eight, and five-year-old Ross Sneddon on February 15 at Glenrothes in Fife.

Sentencing Martin at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Brodie also disqualified him from driving for life.

Martin had been drinking and had taken ecstasy when he lost control of a stolenvehicle, mounted the pavement and ploughed into a group of mothers and childrenreturning from a dance class.

Ross's mother, Michelle Sneddon, was injured as she pushed the pram of her two-year-old daughter Lyta away to prevent further tragedy.

The defendant also admitted fleeing the scene of the accident and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

But the court heard of Martin's remorse through his defence counsel Edgar Prais QC, who said his client attempted suicide after realising what had happened.

Mr Prais quoted the words of Martin as he locked himself in the bathroom with some vodka shortly after the accident and cut his arms in an attempt to kill himself.

He said: "I just want to do myself in, I just killed two bairns. I would rather die than know I have killed two children."

Mr Prais went on: "Dean Martin is clearly shattered by what has happened, like the people he injured and like the family whose bereavement he is responsible for - he is going to have to live his whole life in the shadow of this horrendous misdeed.

"His is a debt to society that can never be met."

Andrew Sneddon, the father of Ross, condemned Martin's sentence as he foughtback tears outside the High Court.

Mr Sneddon, 28, said: "I feel it was a show trial. I know the judge's hands are tied by directives and he has got to abide by those laws he administers.

"I'm Ross's father and I feel it's disgraceful he's only got 11 years.

"Is that what my son's life amounted to, 11 years? Is that what the other lives amounted to, 11 years?"

He added: "I would have liked to have seen life, wouldn't any father?

"Wouldn't any of you if you had lost a child in circumstances like that?

"Would you not have liked to see that person put away for the rest of their natural lives? That's just my feelings as a father and as a human being."

Michelle Sneddon, 29, was also in court to hear the sentence passed but she was too distressed to comment afterwards.

Lord Brodie said the usual sentence of 13 years for culpable homicide had beenreduced by two years in light of Martin's guilty plea.

The judge said he felt a custodial sentence for culpable homicide rather than dangerous driving was necessary in considering the death of three people, including two children, walking on a pavement on a Sunday morning.

Martin, who was living in Glenrothes at the time of the accident but gave his address as Perth prison, stared ahead throughout the proceedings.

The court was silent as Martin was led from the dock.

Mr Sneddon's eyes filed with tears and he was hugged by relatives as he wasasked about his thoughts for his dead son.

"It's a time for my son more than anything. I miss him so much," he said, his voice breaking with emotion.

Mr Sneddon said he did not blame the judge for the "token" sentence but he called on the Government to review the lengths of sentences for such cases.

He said Martin would probably serve only five or six years and he added: "The justice system has let me down, it's let my family down. It's let Ross down. The justice system has let victims down. It just doesn't seem fair."

He went on: "There's no way I feel he got his just deserts. I had set my sight low but I wasn't expecting that low.

"I would have expected that for each individual life he has taken.

"And two years off as a discount for good behaviour. What is this, the Kwik-E-Mart? You don't get discounts on taking somebody's life. It's life.

"We have still got to continue with ours. In 11 years' time my kids are going to be out and he could be walking the streets beside them.

"I don't want my kids having to look at the justice system knowing that their brother was killed and the person is walking the streets beside them almost.

"They may as well let him out now. It's just incomprehensible."

He said nobody would accept expressions of remorse from someone who had killed a loved one.

"But he may genuinely feel bad about what he's done. I can hope for his sake he does. He's going to have to live with it," he said.

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform