Mary McCann, 35, was driving northbound on the M1 when she smashed into a white Scania HGV – neither of her children Lilly or Smaller were wearing seatbelts
A boozed-up mum who killed two of her children in a motorway drink-drive crash wept as she was jailed for four years.
Mary McCann, 35, was driving northbound on the M1 between junctions 14 and 15 when she smashed into a white Scania HGV at around 11.10pm on 9 August, 2021.
Her two children, Lilly McCann, aged four, and Smaller, aged ten, sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene.
A family member previously claimed McCann was driving back from a party in London when the crash happened.
A third person, as well as the driver of the lorry involved in the smash, were not seriously injured.
Judge Francis Sheridan, sitting at Aylesbury Crown Court, heard the 35-year-old was over the drink-drive limit at the time of the incident when she drifted across into a lane behind the lorry and smashed into it.
Little Lilly was catapulted out of the car after McCann had not put seatbelts on her children. McCann earlier admitted two counts of causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink.
Thames Valley Police)
Judge Sheridan told McCann, who sobbed as she watched on over the video link, that she would carry the cross of her actions for the rest of her life.
He said: “It is disgraceful that you as a mother could drive a car with three young children in it while over the drink-drive limit.”
Stephen Shay, prosecuting, said: “Ms McCann was driving three children in a Vauxhall Astra car when at 11.12pm she collided with the rear of a lorry driven by Simon Denton.
“Tragically, two of her children were killed.”
McCann was in lane one, while the lorry was in lane two, the court was told.
Her car drifted into lane two and, in a bid to avoid the lorry, she crashed into it – sending her car spinning.
Mr Shay told the court McCann was driving at 72mph in a 60 zone, with Lilly and Smaller not wearing their seatbelts.
Lilly was thrown from the car and found on the roadside, while Smaller was flung around the backseat and found slumped in the footwell, the court heard.
A witness heard McCann shout: “God, why didn’t I put their seatbelts on?” in the smash’s immediate aftermath, Mr Shay said.
At the time Investigating officer, Sergeant Dominic Mahon, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Bicester, said: “This was a tragic incident in which two young children lost their lives.
“My thoughts remain with their family at this incredibly difficult time. Thankfully they will not have to go through the ordeal of a trial due to McCann’s guilty pleas today.”
On the day of the crash emergency services raced to the scene in Buckinghamshire following reports of a collision between a white Vauxhall Astra and a Scania HGV.
The judge issued a warrant for her arrest saying he wanted the Home Office to put ports and airports on alert for her.
Laban Leake, defending, said: “She is here to be punished by this court and rightly so, but it must be acknowledged that the true punishment for this offence lives within Mary McCann.
“It is to that unquenchable wheel of fire that Mary McCann is bound.”
He said his client has complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
Judge Francis Sheridan said Mr Denton did nothing wrong.
He said Lilly would “not have been ejected” if she had been strapped in, while “Smaller would have remained in his seat”.
He said: “There is no punishment commensurate with the loss of one’s two children and I accept that.
“The message must go out: don’t drive under the influence of alcohol.”
McCann, of Bamford Avenue, Derby, was jailed for 49 months and banned from driving for seven years and two weeks after admitting two counts of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink.
Judge Francis Sheridan said: “It is most likely she will flee to Ireland. This is a sad case, but by absconding to avoid the indictment being put, is in my view tactical.”
Neighbours of the mum-of-two, from Derby, says she will “never get over” her loss of the children.
Tributes to the children flooded in following their deaths last year
An aunt wrote on facebook: “Love you always and forever and never in this lifetime will you ever be forgotten, always loved.”
Another relative: “RIP you two beautiful little angels. Never seen sadder in my life. Such a cruel world we all live in. Keep their mummy and daddy in your prayers, couldn’t imagine their pain.
“Two little lives taken way too soon. A little brother and sister gone to heaven together.”
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