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Casper and Corey Platt-May deaths: Driver high on cocaine is jailed

L-R Casper and Corey Platt-MayImage copyrightFAMILY HANDOUT
Image captionCasper Platt-May, two, and his brother Corey, six, were on a family trip to a park when they were hit by a car

A driver who killed two young brothers in a hit-and-run crash while high on cocaine has been jailed for nine years.

Casper Platt-May, two, and his brother Corey, six, were struck while on their way to a Coventry park.

Robert Brown, 53, of Attwood Crescent, Wyken, who was doing more than 60mph, admitted causing the deaths by dangerous driving.

Brown had 30 previous convictions for driving without a licence or insurance, Warwick Crown Court heard.

The court was told that the boys’ lives had been “ripped away” in the incident on 22 February.

Robert Brown and Gwendoline HarrisonImage copyrightWEST MIDLANDS POLICE
Image captionRobert Brown and Gwendoline Harrison showed no emotion as they were sentenced

The boys’ mother, Louise Platt-May, was unable to speak in court. Her husband Reece read her statement in which she wrote: “I can’t work, my heart is broken, and time will never heal this. I will miss them forever. This monstrous act will haunt me.”

Corey (left) and Casper Platt-MayImage copyrightFAMILY HANDOUT
Image captionCorey (left) and Casper Platt-May were described by Corey’s head teacher as “lovely boys”

Gwendoline Harrison, 42, of Triumph Close, Wyken, who was a passenger in the car, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. She had admitted a charge of assault intending to resist arrest and trying to leave the scene when she “knew two children lay dying”.

“No sentence can alleviate the pain of the family of these precious children,” the judge Andrew Lockhart QC said.

Brown and Harrison were both found to be four times over the limit for cocaine when the Ford Focus driven by Brown “ploughed” into the boys as they crossed Longfellow Road with their family.

Corey was thrown into the air by the impact of the collision and landed some distance away, the court heard.

The scene of the crashImage copyrightPA
Image captionThe scene of the crash was “like a bomb had gone off”, the boys’ grandfather said

West Midlands Police Collision Investigation Unit calculated that Brown was driving at more than 60mph.

The crash happened at about 14:00 GMT as the boys were out with their brothers Connor, nine, and Cooper, four.

In court, Connor said he “misses play nights and games” with his brothers. Casper, he said, was “really good at running and jumping in puddles”, while Corey was talented at “football, games, drawing and reading”.

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The brothers relive the accident, Ms Platt-May said, and suffer nightmares and panic attacks.

Judge Lockhart said CCTV of the moment of the collision was “extremely distressing” and that he would have ordered against playing it in court.

The tributes in the shape of the boys' names
Image captionFloral tributes were laid at a memorial service for the brothers at Coventry Cathedral

Dashcam footage from a bus showed that members of the public intervened to prevent Brown and Harrison from leaving the “terrible scene”.

One man was attacked by Harrison who hit him over the head with a handbag containing cans of beer as he tried to restrain the pair.

They were discovered by police hiding behind a nearby garden shed and arrested.

A week before the crash Brown had been released from prison for possessing an offensive weapon.

He was disqualified from driving for 10 years after his release, while Harrison was disqualified for 27 months.

Ms Platt-May said Brown had “got off lightly”, and called on the government to “honour” the death of her sons with “tougher punishments for drivers who think they are above the law”.

“Because of [Brown], we are living a life sentence knowing we will never see our boys grow up, while he will be out of prison in just a few years and will be free to continue his life,” she said.

The judge said that the family’s dignity would “shine out like a beacon”.

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