Mary McCann: Drink-driving mother jailed for four years after M1 crash which killed her daughter and son

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Four-year-old Lily McCann and 10-year-old Smaller McCann were killed during the crash last August

A drink-driving mother who killed two of her children when she crashed into a lorry has been jailed for more than four years.

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McCann’s four-year-old daughter Lily and her 10-year-old son Smaller were both killed as a result of the crash.

The court heard McCann was heard to shout “God, why didn’t I put their seatbelts on?” after the crash.

Children were not wearing seatbelts during crashing

McCann appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court via videolink from HMP Bronzefield.

The court was told that on 9 August 2021 at around 11.10pm, McCann’s Vauxhall Astra collided into the rear of the Scania HGV vehicle which was being driven by Simon Denton.

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The Vauxhall Astra, which contained the mother, her two children and another two-year-old passenger, was travelling in lane one of the M1, while Denton’s lorry was travelling in lane two.

The car, which was travelling at 72mph in a 60mph zone, drifted into lane two, colliding with the HGV and sending the car spinning.

Lily thrown from the car and was later found on the roadside, while Smaller was flung from the backseat and was found slumped in the footwell.

The additional two-year-old passenger was not left badly hurt, while HGV driver Denton was left with whiplash from the crash.

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Stephen Shay, prosecuting, told the court that a witness had heard McCann shout “God, why didn’t I put their seatbelts on” in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

Four-year-old Lily and her big brother Smaller, 10, both died in the M1 crash last AugustFour-year-old Lily and her big brother Smaller, 10, both died in the M1 crash last August
Four-year-old Lily and her big brother Smaller, 10, both died in the M1 crash last August

‘This offence lives within Mary McCann’

McCann, who wept consistantly throughout the hearing, was arrested in September 2021 after she failed to answer bail following her children’s funerals.

Mary McCann was sentenced to 49 months over the M1 crash which killed two of her childrenMary McCann was sentenced to 49 months over the M1 crash which killed two of her children
Mary McCann was sentenced to 49 months over the M1 crash which killed two of her children

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.”

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Mr Leake added that the mother had developed a complex post-traumatic stress disorder in the aftermath of the crash.

Judge Francis Sheridan said that Mr Denton had done nothing wrong in the crash. And 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.”

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McCann, who previously pleaded guilty to guilty to two counts of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink, was sentenced to 49 months in jail and has also been banned from driving for seven years and two weeks.

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