Drink-driver who killed pedestrians jailed

Tom Pugh,Press Association
Friday 29 January 2010 14:10 GMT

A drink-driver who killed two pedestrians and left a 12-year-old girl brain damaged after his car mounted a pavement was jailed for 10 years today.

Stefan Stanko, 24, admitted drinking whisky and cokes and cherry brandy throughout the day before getting behind the wheel of his car.

He was over the limit when he ploughed into a group of friends who were walking home together after a night out in Ashford, Kent, on September 27 last year.

Stanko, previously of West Street, Gravesend, admitted causing the death by dangerous driving of 67-year-old Brian Moon and Denise Head, 49.

He also careered into 12-year-old Rosie Brown, who is now in a rehabilitation unit where she remains in a coma with brain damage.

Rosie's aunt, Julie Scorah, 24, and Mr Moon's partner, 63-year-old Phyllis Wanstall, were also injured following their night out at the International Sports and Social Club in Beaver Road.

Stanko, who also pleaded guilty to drink-driving and failing to stop after an accident, was told he had caused "carnage" as he was banned from driving for 10 years, Kent Police said.

Sentencing him at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Gold QC said: "As the group left the social club, they can't have imagined the tragedy that awaited them.

"You, by your actions, caused carnage. There can be no dispute that this is a tragic case.

"There's nothing I can say and no sentence I can impose that can provide sufficient comfort to the many people whose lives have been tragically impacted by your actions.

"You showed a flagrant disregard for the safety of pedestrians and other road users by driving your car in a state of intoxication."

The court heard how Stanko, a Slovakian national, travelled from London with his brother-in-law, Martin Petro, 29, and spent the afternoon and evening drinking with friends at a barbecue in Ashford.

At the end of the night, he asked Mr Petro to leave with him but he refused because he thought Stanko was "too drunk".

Another friend hid Stanko's car keys but he spent the evening searching for them and, when he found them, he drove off in his silver Nissan Primera.

CCTV footage captured the car travelling around a right-hand bend, before mounting the pavement a split second before Stanko hit the group.

A witness who saw the car said it stopped briefly at a red traffic light before driving off, leaving the dead and injured lying in the street.

Police officers found Stanko and his badly-damaged car in Christchurch Road, about 15 minutes after the fatal collision.

He initially claimed the car had been stolen earlier that night after he left the keys in the ignition when he went into an off-licence.

But later, in interview with officers, he admitted being behind the wheel, although he said he had no recollection of events leading up to the crash.

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