17 Jul 2014

Survivor mourns adored wife, daughter

9:33 pm on 17 July 2014

Ella Summerfield was the apple of her father's eye and her mother, Sally, his soulmate, a devastated Shane Summerfield has told the Christchurch District Court.

His comments came at the sentencing of Dutch businessman Johannes Appelman, who was behind the wheel of a Subaru which smashed into the Summerfield's vehicle at Queen's Birthday Weekend, killing Sally, Ella and Ella's friend, Abi Hone, instantly. Both girls were 12.

Mr Summerfield was seriously injured in the crash, near Rakaia in Canterbury, and on Thursday told the court in a victim impact statement that living was one thing, "having a life is completely another".

Appelman, 52, last month admitted three counts of careless use of a vehicle causing death, one charge of careless use of a vehicle causing injury, and one of careless use of a motor vehicle. The latter charge related to a single vehicle crash the day before.

Judge David Sanders on Thursday ordered him to pay the Summerfield family $25,000 and disqualified from driving for 15 months. He has already paid the Hone family an undisclosed sum.

Judge Sanders said there would be little to be gained by sending Appelman to prison.

Mr Summerfield told the court his wife was his soulmate and he loved her with all his heart. His pain was unbearable and he felt like a lost soul.

He said his written words would never express how much devastation Mr Appelman had caused to so many people, and he must take full responsibility.

He told of losing half his family that day, as he drove his his wife, daughter and daughter's friend to Ohau for a holiday.

Lives shattered

In the crash, Appelman drove his hired Subaru through a stop sign at the intersection of Thompsons Track and Somerton Road.

"(The) lives of three families have been completely shattered. The defendant has caused misery and suffering for hundreds of friends," Mr Summerfield said.

"I have my son, Sam, and for his sake I will continue to live. Living is one thing, having a life is completely another."

Mr Summerfield said his daughter was the apple of his eye and was a daddy's girl, which they both knew but embraced it anyway.

"These written words will never express how much devastation the defendant has caused many people.

"It wasn't a deliberate act but he must take full responsibility for his actions.

"For us remaining here in Christchurch, we will never have a reprieve from the loss of those three girls."

Appelman's lawyer, Phil Shamy, moved to dispel the impression his client was not sorry for what he has done.

"He has expressed remorse for what he has done. It has damaged him significantly ...

"He will never forget, nor will he ever forgive himself for what he has done."

Judge Saunders held a minute's silence following the victim impact statements and expressed his own condolences.

"Nobody could sit in this court today and not be moved by the horrendous consequences there have been for this family," he said.

"This is a city that is now used to tragedy in light of events that have occurred in recent years but this was yet another tragedy that this city will remember for a long time."

Appelman plans to return to The Netherlands.