A woman who lost her three children and her father in a horrific drunk driving crash broke into tears Tuesday as she spoke to the man responsible for their deaths before a packed Newmarket courtroom.
“I don’t have anyone left to call me mom … You killed all my babies,” Jennifer Neville-Lake told Marco Muzzo from the witness stand.
“I miss my kids, I miss my dad, I want my old life back.”
Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly, and the children’s 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville, all from Brampton, died after the van they were in was T-boned by an SUV in Vaughan last September.
Many in the courtroom, including police officers, wiped their eyes as Neville-Lake recalled learning the devastating news and rushing to hospital just in time to see two of her children taken off life support.
“Did you know, you killed a kid with special needs? My Harry was an amputee. He worked hard to sit up on his own, to walk, to talk, to eat,” she said.
“I cry myself to sleep, torturing myself about my Daniel’s last seconds.”
Muzzo pleaded guilty earlier this month to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm and was released on bail until Tuesday.
Since the crash, Neville-Lake said, the home that once echoed with laughter has been left eerily quiet.
“All that is left of them is a horrifying picture of their death, painted on a canvas by your selfish actions,” she said.
“The roaring silence that has been left behind as a result of your actions is so deafening,” she said.
As she wept, Jennifer told Muzzo that she would not wish the “horror” she lives every day on anyone but him.
“You deserve to know what it’s like to have every single life you created taken from you,” she said.
Her husband, Edward Neville-Lake, said in a statement that he has suffered from suicidal thoughts and intense anxiety since the crash, and the loss has affected their marriage.
“You drove drunk and killed my family. I wish I had been in that van too,” Jennifer said.
The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured in the crash.
Neville-Lake’s mother also told court that she now has no one to grow old with.
Neriza Neville said it would have been easier to bear if the love of her life had died from illness because she would have had the chance to say goodbye.
Gary’s son and Jennifer’s brother, Johnathan Neville, said his father was always a ‘glass half-full’ person, but now that glass is empty.
The judge also heard victim impact statements from the community and other members of the Neville-Lake family. Around 20 family members were in court on Tuesday.
“This event permanent scarred our community, we lost our innocence,” Brampton mayor Linda Jeffrey said in a statement, which was read by the Crown.
Muzzo had initially faced a dozen counts of impaired driving and six more charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
The court heard he was so drunk at the time of the Sept. 27 crash that he urinated on himself and needed help standing.
Victim impact statements will continue on Wednesday when court resumes at 9:30 a.m.
Victim Impact statement of Neriza Neville, grandmother of the three children killed