Lucan Cresswell threatened to send someone he knew photos of the woman killed when he crashed during a road race in Whangārei.

That woman was his partner, killed with her 7-year-old daughter when Cresswell lost control during the Whangārei Heads Rd race. The woman's other child, 11, suffered serious injuries.

Cresswell, 34, was yesterday sentenced at the Whangārei District Court to four years and 10 months' imprisonment and disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for five years.

He faced charges of operating a motor vehicle in a race causing death and of operating a vehicle in a race causing injury.


Crown lawyer Kyle Macneil said Cresswell had no remorse as he threatened to send photos of his dead partner to someone.

The court was told Cresswell was driving along Whangārei Heads Rd on February 17 with his partner and her two children.

Another driver heading in the same direction came up behind him and tried to overtake but Cresswell pulled out across the centre line to prevent him.

Cresswell took exception to the other vehicle passing him at Tamaterau and that was a trigger for the race that unfolded over the next 10km.

The other vehicle overtook two cars and Cresswell followed suit, travelling at an estimated 130km/h.

Cresswell attempted to overtake the vehicle that overtook him at Tamaterau but the other driver prevented him from doing so.

On a moderate left bend, Cresswell drove into a gravel shoulder that caused him to lose control.

His vehicle then crossed back over the centre line and collided with a traffic sign and a tree.


Witnesses estimated both vehicles were travelling at between 130km/h and 140km/h before the crash, with Cresswell tailgating and appeared to overtake the other vehicle.

"This was a catastrophe waiting to happen, and tragically it did. It was a prolonged, persistent, and deliberate course of very bad driving," Judge Keith de Ridder said.

"This was a case of senseless and mindless driving where you wanted to get the better of the other driver without regard for others that were in the car."

He said the last few moments of Cresswell's partner and her child were marked by a fear of what he was doing.

Judge de Ridder said Cresswell had a considerable number of driving convictions, including driving while disqualified, drink driving, careless use of a motor vehicle, failing to stop and ascertain injury, and operating a vehicle with sustained loss of traction.

Severe trauma and loss was evident, he said, from the victim impact statements that were supplied by the grandparents of both girls, and Cresswell's partner's mother.

"It is fair to say that the effects have been catastrophic to say the least, deep-seated, ongoing and no doubt will cause considerable pain for a long time to come," Judge de Ridder said.