With two convictions for drunk driving, teenager Aizaeah Tarawa played "Russian roulette" with devastating consequences when he got behind the wheel drunk again and killed a Northland mother and her baby girl.
Tarawa, aged 19, was drunk, speeding, overtaking and crashed head-on with a family travelling in the opposite direction on State Highway 1 near Topuni, on March 30 this year.
Kaiwaka mother Janiah Fairburn, 20, and her 2-year-old daughter, Azarliyah, died on the roadside while Fairburn's partner, Henare Hadfield, 20, suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung and 1-year-old son, Te Tairawhiti Hadfield, suffered a fractured neck.
During sentencing in the Whangārei District Court yesterday six members of Fairburn's family read their harrowing victims impact statements in court describing how the death of their loved ones had devastated their lives.
Before handing down a jail term of four years and three months on two charges of excess breath alcohol causing death, Judge Duncan Harvey said Tarawa had played Russian roulette and must have known he was too drunk to drive.
Tarawa's behaviour after the fatal crash was "truly terrible" and instead of staying to help the injured, he got in a car with relatives who had been following and left the scene.
When he was found by police near Albany, Tarawa denied driving and did not remember the crash as he had been asleep.
A breath test revealed he had a breath alcohol level of 768 micrograms - the limit for a driver aged 19 and under is zero.
With his head bowed, while sitting in the dock, Tarawa listened to the hurt expressed by Hadfield's family.
"As a parent and grandfather you always want the best for your children and your moko ... what hurts the most is I can't fix this one, this one is forever," said William Fairburn about his daughter and granddaughter.
"My life has been changed forever, I will never be the same. A massive part of my life has been taken away."
He said while he was struggling with depression and had only managed to return to work part time his Christian faith gave him hope and had taught him forgiveness.
Henare Hadfield, hung his head as read his statement and described his partner as being selfless and full of joy.
"She taught me so many things and I knew she had so much more to teach me about happiness and life."
Hadfield, now 21, said they were in a good place and had just that night at diner spoken of how they could make changes to better themselves.
"We had lots of hopes and dreams to work for."
He said he knew one day he would have to tell his son, who might not recover fully from his spinal injuries, why his mum and sister were not around. Hadfield hoped he would be prepared enough with counselling to explain it to his son.
After sentencing Hadfield said any sentence would not bring back a life and he was grateful for his faith and his family who had supported him.
"This is another step in life, another step to be the person my family want me to be."
Crown lawyer Sarah Barnaart said Tarawa's actions had destroyed a family and those actions were completely avoidable.
Lawyer Julie Young said Tarawa was "sick with guilt" and acknowledged what he had done was unforgivable. He had pleaded guilty to the charges.
On the two charges of excess breath alcohol causing death he was jailed for four years and three months and on the two charges of excess breath alcohol causing injury he was sentenced to two years jail. Both sentences were to be served concurrently.