Hearts 'broken into a million pieces'

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PLEADED: Whakatane man Shane William Hart has pleaded guilty to charges relating to an accident last year which killed Masterton woman Shannon Buick.
PLEADED: Whakatane man Shane William Hart has pleaded guilty to charges relating to an accident last year which killed Masterton woman Shannon Buick.

A grieving family have described how their hearts were "broken into a million pieces'', as a young driver was sentenced to community work for killing a young woman and maiming her teenage sister.

Shane William Hart, appeared for sentencing today in the Masterton District Court for careless driving causing death and careless driving causing injury.

On August 30 Hart crossed the centreline on Paierau Rd, Masterton, slamming head-on into a car containing Shannon Buick, 22 and her sister Kaitlin, 16, who were heading home from work.

Shannon was killed instantly, while Kaitlin suffered serious injuries and now faces a lengthy rehabilitation.

As victim impact statements were read to the court, Hart stood looking at the floor, often wiping tears from his eyes and blowing his nose.

Defence lawyer Philip Drummond said his client was extremely remorseful about the tragedy. Hart had offered $10,000 in emotional harm reparation to the family.

"He feels responsible for the loss of life. He is heartbroken.''

Judge Peter Hobbs said there was a low level of carelessness as there was no alcohol, drugs or speed involved. It appeared the accident happened in a "momentary act of carelessness'' as Hart headed into Masterton for the weekend from his job at Whakatane.

Judge Hobbs expressed deep sympathy for the Buick family, saying Hart would have a "difficult cross to bear for the rest of his life''.

He convicted Hart on the two counts and ordered him to pay $10,000 emotional harm to the Buick family, sentenced Hart to 200 hours' community work and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.

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