Suffolk: Grieving family tell how they will never forgive killer driver
The family of a 20-year-old care worker have spoken of their devastating loss as the partially sighted teenage driver who killed her was locked up for 12 years.
Luke Burdakay, 19, who was registered blind, was suicidal and under the influence of drink and drugs when he ploughed into Laureen Hammond’s car near Bromeswell, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
The force of the impact ripped off the side of the car and, despite wearing a seat belt, Miss Hammond was thrown into the road shortly before her Vauxhall Corsa burst into flames.
In a statement read to the court her mother Debbie Taylor described Miss Hammond as “her rock and best friend” and said she could not forgive Burdakay.
Ms Taylor described waving her daughter off as she left for work at Glebe House in Hollesley on Feburary 3, not realising it would be the last time she saw her.
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She described “Lollie”, as she was known, as a “beautiful, bright girl” who brought love, laughter and fun to her family and friends and had so much to live for.
Ms Taylor said she had to drive past the scene of the crash five or six times a day and every time she saw the marks in the road where her daughter’s car caught fire she was tormented by the thought that she had been in pain before she died.
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The family are now considering moving to because it ”wasn’t the same” without Miss Hammond.
Burdakay, of Euston Road, Sutton Heath and also of Birkfield Drive, Ipswich admitted manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years detention in a young offenders’ institution and banned from driving for 12 years. He also admitted attempted robbery at the Trawler’s Catch Fish Shop in Saxmundham High Street on January 28 and was given a concurrent sentence of three years and four months.
Judge John Devaux said Burdakay, who was registered blind and had only 15 per cent vision as a result of a congenital eye disorder, had been more than one and half times the drink drive limit at the time of the collision and had also smoked cannabis on the day in question.
He said Burdakay had never had any driving lessons or held a driving licence because of his eye problems.
Godfried Duah, prosecuting, said police had been called to Burdakay’s mother’s home at Sutton Heath on February 3 after a violent argument and passed him on the road as he drove off in his mother’s car, which he had taken without permission.
The officers turned their vehicle round and followed Burdakay. Shortly afterwards they came across a three-vehicle collision on the B1083 at Bromeswell.
Mr Duah said Miss Hammond had completed a right turn off the B1023 and was on the correct side of the road when she was hit by Burdakay’s car which was coming in the opposite direction on the wrong side of the road.
The force of the impact ripped off the side of Miss Hammond’s car from the driver’s door to the rear of the vehicle and forced the car backwards. Miss Hammond suffered multiple injuries and died despite the efforts of the emergency services.
Burdakay also collided with another car coming from the same direction as Miss Hammond, injuring the driver, who had to be cut free from the wreckage, and a passenger. His car overturned and he was left with minor injuries.
He told police he intended to kill himself by jumping off the Orwell Bridge or by crashing his car.
Outlining the facts of the robbery on January 28, Mr Duah said Burdakay had gone into the Trawler’s Catch Fish Shop in Saxmundham wearing a balaclava and brandishing a meat cleaver.
He had demanded money but had left after staff refused to give him anything.
Roger Thomson for Burdakay said he felt genuine remorse for what he had done and wished there was a way of going back and changing things.
He said Burdakay had started mixing with the wrong crowd after moving out of the family home and had started drinking and taking drugs. He had also felt isolated because of his eye problem.