An unlicensed and serial drunk driver who ran a red light and ploughed into another car killing two young women has been jailed.
Shane Bradley Pearce, 50, was sentenced to 11 years behind bars in the WA Supreme Court on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of newlywed Paige May Ward and her friend Lauren Jane Prothero.
The court heard Pearce was aggressive to witnesses at the scene and rendered no assistance to his critically-injured victims in one final insulting act.
He also resisted arrest when he was detained by police near the crash scene.
Justice Bruno Fiannaca described Pearce’s actions after the fatal crash as selfish, egregious and appalling as he handed down the sentence.
Next month will make one year since newlywed Paige Ward and her friend Lauren Prothero were killed
Shane Bradley Pearce (pictured) rendered no assistance to his critically-injured victims after ploughing into their car. He was sentenced to 11 years jail on Wednesday
‘Your conduct immediately after the crash was reprehensible,’ Justice Bruno Fiannaca told Pearce during sentencing.
‘The fact that you drove in such an egregious manner when you were not entitle to be in control of a vehicle at all exacerbates the tragedy you inflicted on the victims and their families.
Ms Prothero, a physiotherapist and Ms Ward, a special needs teacher suffered catastrophic injuries when Pearce slammed his four- wheel drive into their Nissan Micra after running a red light at 123km/h – more than 40km/h above the speed limit.
Ward, who was married just four months earlier, died at the scene, with close friend Prothero dying a few hours later in hospital.
The women’s shattered families were in court on Wednesday to hear the sentencing handed down.
Lauren Prothero (pictured right) and Paige Ward (middle) were innocent victims in a double fatality in Perth last year. They’re pictured with a friend at Ms Ward’s hen’s party
‘My daughter was all I had, to be honest,’ Lauren’s father John Prothero told reporters outside court.
‘Lauren was it. She was going to look after me in old age. The love we had between us and the affection- that all went in a flash.’
Justice Fiannaca referred to the victim impact statements while handing down his decision.
Ms Prothero was described as ‘full of life and out to make a difference in the world’ as a physiotherapist.
Her father John suffered a cardiac episode several days after he had to identify her body in the morgue near the hospital where she worked.
Ms Ward’s parents also described their ‘profound’ and ‘devastating’ loss.
‘In short, the pain and suffering of the families of both young women highlights the need for general deterrence,’ Justice Fiannaca said.
The confronting scene at Cooloongup last May which killed Lauren Prothero and Paige Ward
When he was interviewed the following day, Pearce told police he ‘could not recall’ anything about the crash.
In the lead-up to the crash, the scaffolder spent the day drinking for 10 hours after being rained off at the building site where he was working.
Pearce chalked up six previous convictions for driving under the influence dating back to 1992, the court heard.
‘He obviously did it seven times so that didn’t stop him,’ Mr Prothero said.
‘I’m not really an angry person. The main thing for me is my daughter’s not here anymore — what he gets, I’ll let the State worry about that.’
Justice Fiannaca said Pearce had shown a ‘reckless disregard for the safety of others’.
‘You crashed with enormous destructive force,’ he said.
‘You cut short the promising lives of two young women. You have also changed forever the lives of their families.’
Lauren Prothero (pictured right) passed away in hospital after suffering catastrophic injuries in the senseless accident
Paige Ward – who died at the scene – was married just four months before the double fatality
John Prothero (pictured outside court on Wednesday) was left a broken man after his daughter Lauren’s death
Pearce’s lawyer Paul Holmes said his client wanted to be accountable for his behaviour, and at the time of the crime was ‘struggling’ after the recent death of his brother from cancer.
Pearce also said to police he was ‘sorry for what he had done’ and that he was a ‘coward’.
He has since vowed to never touch a drop of alcohol for the rest of his life and ‘he will take the punishment he deserves.’
Mr Holmes read out a remorseful statement on Pearce’s behalf after the sentencing was handed down.
‘He says’ I don’t expect the community to forgive me or accept my apologies. I can only hope that people learn from my mistakes of this horrible tragedy,’ Mr Holmes read outside court.
Pearce has been remanded in custody since his arrest shortly after the crash.
Pearce must serve another eight years behind bars he’s eligible for parole in 2029.
His driver’s license will also be disqualified for another 10 years once he released from jail.
Shane Bradley Pearce was unlicensed and four times over the limit when he caused the fatal crashed
Drunk driver who ran a red light and killed two women jailed as his final insulting act is revealed