WARNING: Distressing content

The family of a mother and three children killed when a Polish lorry driver smashed into them at 50mph while looking at his phone have talked of their "utter devastation" since the loss.

Tracey Houghton, her sons Ethan, 13, and Josh, 11, and her stepdaughter, Aimee Goldsmith, 11, died when Tomasz Kroker, 30, crashed into her Vauxhall Corsa as the family drove back from a camping trip.

Horrific dashcam footage, shot from inside Kroker's cab and released by police today, shows him so distracted by his phone he does not notice the traffic in front of him and his lorry ploughs straight into Houghton car on the A34 near Newbury, the Daily Mail reports.

Houghton's devastated partner Mark Goldsmith and his 13-year-old son Jake witnessed their family being crushed from a nearby car, before they too were hit by the lorry.


Kroker, who had recently become a father himself, was today jailed for ten years, at Reading Crown Court, after admitting the crimes - but will likely only serve half of the sentence.

And the heartbroken family of his victims said the sentence did not "do justice to the crime committed", with Aimee's mother Kate Goldsmith describing how her life changed "in the blink of an eye".

In a heartbreaking victim impact statement read to the court, Goldsmith spoke of her "absolute and utter devastation" at the loss of her daughter, whom she called "my hope, my happiness, my balance".

She also described how after losing his sister Aimee and best friend Ethan, Jake had been "changed forever", leaving him with little to say and plagued by anger, upset, nightmares and broken sleep.

"Anyone using a mobile whilst driving is guilty of dangerous driving. It only takes a second of distraction to kill someone, destroying your life, your family's lives, and those of your victim and their family," she added.

Video from Kroker's lorry cab shows the family car being shunted underneath the back of a heavy goods vehicle and crushed to a third of its size.

The family, from Bedfordshire, were driving back from a camping trip and all died instantly in the horrifying crash.

Kroker, from Andover, Hampshire, admitted four counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Reading Crown Court on October 10.

Kroker, 30, was absorbed by his phone for between seven and 45 seconds in the moments leading up to the crash, which was captured by the harrowing dash cam footage.

The dashcam footage captures the moment the truck slams into the back of the car in front. Photo / via Daily Mail
The dashcam footage captures the moment the truck slams into the back of the car in front. Photo / via Daily Mail

It distracted him so much he failed to see a line of stationary traffic in front of him, which had built up after another lorry slowed down while struggling to climb a hill.

Charles Ward-Jackson, prosecuting, showed pictures to the court of the severely damaged cars after the accidents along with the video.

The court was packed with members of the victims' families and survivors of the crash, many of whom were in tears as prosecutor Charles Ward-Jackson recounted what happened that day.

As pictures and footage of the accident were shown to the court, some left the courtroom, rather than re-live the horrors.

Kroker himself wiped away tears and held his face in his hands as the more harrowing details were read out.

The court heard Kroker broke down at the scene of the crash, crying and saying to himself: "I've killed them."

But, he also tried to claim his brakes had failed, telling officers the traffic in front of him "just stopped - I hit my brakes but just couldn't stop".

When he was asked by his company the following day whether he had been distracted, he said: "Had radio on. Not tuning it. Not on phone."

He refused to answer questions when interviewed by police, but when he was eventually shown the footage from his lorry's dash-cam he admitted he had been distracted by playing with his phone.

Defending, James Rozier said Kroker - whose partner was in court- understood the "unfathomable" harm he had caused, that he himself wanted justice to be done and offered his "regret and remorse" to those affected.

Prosecutor Ward-Jackson said of Kroker: "He started working for a firm driving heavy goods vehicles.

"On regular routes he was driving from Andover so the Crown would say he was familiar with the road.

"On the day he reported for work at about 4pm and was assigned a white Mercedes unit attached to a long trailer. The trailer was empty.

"Before he started driving the defendant was required to fill out a driver's declaration form.

"It included: 'I will never use a mobile phone or hands-free kit while driving.' That was signed and dated by him.

"The weather was fine and traffic was running smoothly. The defendant would have had an excellent view of the road ahead.

"Had the defendant been looking he would have seen a procession of vehicles slowly moving up the in the distance."

He added: "The defendant, it is clear, was not looking. It is only 0.75 seconds before the crash that the camera shows the defendant looking up with some horror on his face."

Kroker's lorry also smashed through a Citroen, injuring the two occupants, before plunging into the Vauxhall Zafira driven by Mark Goldsmith, who was with his 13-year-old son Jake.

The trailer they were towing, carrying bikes from a family holiday, was demolished, and the car was pushed into Ms Houghton's.

Ward-Jackson said: "The Corsa was forced under the rear of the lorry, pushing the back of the lorry into the air, and crushing the roof of the Corsa so that it is little exaggeration to say that this small car, containing four people, was, in an instant, reduced to something like a third of its natural size."

He added: "It is a particularly distressing feature that the two surviving members of the family were in the car behind, and a 13-year-old boy was forced to witness at close range the deaths of four members of close family."

The courts was shown photographs of the wreckage of many vehicles after the collision - some had been almost completely destroyed.

Stills from the dash cam on Kroker's lorry show the crash progressing as the vehicle ploughed into cars lined up in front of it.

The vehicle's two dash cams show the horrifying moments before and during impact. The first camera showed the lorry approaching the line of stationary traffic in front of it before hitting it at speed.

The second showed Kroker using his phone as he held it out to the side of him with his left hand. He was scrolling through different music options while pop music played loudly in his cab.

The music continued as he looked up in shock just moments before the lorry collided with the first car in front of it. He grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and braced for impact but it was far too late.

Kroker's vehicle also crashed into a Mazda driven by Adam Pearson, who had seen the lorry behind him and tried to drive to the side of the road.

But his car was thrown on to its roof on the embankment, leaving him trapped upside down in the driver's seat critically injured.

He was cut free and flown to hospital with a torn aorta artery, collapsed lung, lacerated liver and broken back.

Pearson, who still has to wear a brace underneath his jaw, said outside the courtroom: "We had seen the dash cam footage in advance because we took the decision to watch it.

"It makes for difficult viewing for me. I have no memory or recollection of the accident, it didn't really feel like watching footage of me.

"It is impossible to believe someone at the wheel of a vehicle that can cause that much damage showed such disregard.

"We feel that sentence is too light given the consequences of his actions that day. The sentence is too light for what took place.

"It is not something simple or inconsequential, it is something that can ruin lives.

"I think when you have a case where four people have lost their lives and three of them are young children of similar ages to my own kids, it is hard to believe.

"It is not just phone calls and texts. Phones are more complicated now and take more attention, that makes it take longer to use them. It shows you just can't use them when you're at the wheel of a moving vehicle."

Doug Houghton, speaking of the day he was told his sons Ethan and Josh had been killed, said: 'I thought that was the worst day of my life but I think it was three weeks later when I went to the funeral directors and I actually saw them dead, killed in their coffins.

"They were all beautiful boys. They wanted to go Pokemon hunting in Hyde Park, I said when we go on holiday we can go down there, spend a day in London and that would have been kind of nice."

Aimee and Jake's father, Mark Goldsmith added: "Tracy was bubbly, a great mum, she just loved life, she loved to live life.

"We pulled behind some lorries, just crawling along, everyone had slowed down and then that was it, bang."

Aimee's mother, Kate Goldsmith, said her daughter "wanted to be a vet".

She said: "Aimee had a kitten for Christmas and his name is Vimto and Vimto loves and misses her very much.

"I was getting ready for bed and I heard someone outside and I thought it was strange because I expected Jake and Aimee to have gone back to their dad's but I still hadn't heard from them and I went down to open the door and it was the police."

She cried as she continued: "They told me that they were really sorry, that Aimee had been killed in a car accident.

"I continue to see drivers using their phones - it sickens me. If they had seen the devastation they brought my family or to other families by breaking the law, using phones illegally, distracting themselves from driving a potential weapon would they be as sickened as we are."

High Court Judge Mrs Justice McGowan told Kroker she was jailing him for 10 years to set an example to other drivers who use their mobile phone while driving.

He will also serve four years concurrently for causing serious injury by dangerous driving and will be banned from driving for seven years.