'Hero' soldier remembered as aspiring Calgary police officer at killer's sentencing hearing
Cinzia Marson will be sentenced Wednesday for killing Christopher Pollitt, 32, in a highway collision
Christopher Pollitt was a hero.
A decorated British soldier who served in Afghanistan, he also worked as a police officer in the U.K. and hoped to do the same in Calgary.
At the time he was killed, Pollitt was working for a local security company and was heading to a school in Beiseker after an alarm had been activated.
Pollitt was an expert driver. He trained with the Royal Air Force in vehicle avoidance techniques, which he used in Kabul.
Through two tours in Afghanistan, Polliitt's parents lived "a daily fear and despair" their son would be killed in war. That fear turned to pride and relief as they were rewarded with attending his medal presentations and homecoming ceremonies.
But in 2015, the newly engaged war veteran's "superior driving skills" were of no use to him when Cinzia Marson, 34, ignored rumble strips and a giant stop sign as she blew through a highway intersection near Crossfield, Alta., and T-boned Pollitt's Hyundai Elantra with her Lincoln SUV. He died alone in his car.
"Our son was a hero, and she killed a hero," said Stuart Pollitt as he choked back tears.
Pollitt's family travelled to Calgary to deliver victim impact statements Tuesday at Marson's sentencing hearing after she was found guilty earlier this year of dangerous driving causing death.
"Our tremendous agony is profound at how our son was killed, not in a war zone but in your peaceful countryside," said Stuart Pollitt in his victim impact statement. "How could this be?"
This wasn't Marson's first driving infraction. She's been ticketed three times for speeding and twice convicted of more serious charges, which are strikingly similar to her most recent crime: failing to properly stop at a stop sign and failing to safely proceed onto a highway.
When given the chance to speak, Marson apologized to Pollitt's family.
"I understand your feeling of loss, sorrow, hate, emptiness, grief and anger," said Marson. "I am very sorry for being the one responsible with only leaving you to have a memory of your loved one."
Katie Pollitt, Christopher's sister, called Marson's words "rubbish."
After hearing arguments from defence lawyer Alain Hepner and prosecutor Ron Simenik, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Beth Hughes said she will deliver Marson's sentence on Wednesday afternoon, but not before sending a message to the single mother.
"Ms. Marson, I will tell you you are going to go to jail," said Hughes.
The Pollitt family said they are very pleased Marson will spend time behind bars.
"That might help protect the citizens of Canada and the innocents like our son," said Stuart.
Simenik proposed a sentence of up to two years in jail while Hepner has asked the judge to consider a 10-month term.
"You can't keep flaunting the law and not be punished for it," said Christopher's mother, Hilary Pollitt. "This woman has taken away the only thing I can not replace: my son."
Family members described a young man, full of dreams, ambition and love for his fiancee, Meagan Rodi. The two met in the Maritimes when Pollitt was there for the Nova Scotia International Tattoo while he was still with the British military.
The night they met, Pollitt told Rodi he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
He was honourably discharged from the RAF and immigrated to Canada to be with Rodi. The couple moved to Calgary together and he begun the process of applying for Canadian citizenship. Six months after his death, a document arrived in the mail, informing Pollitt he'd been granted Canadian residency.
Rodi was not in court on Tuesday but she did write a victim impact statement that was read aloud by prosecutor Ron Simenik.
"I am grateful for every second we had together," she wrote. "I will miss Chris every second of every day until the day I die."
'He never reached his destination'
Katie Pollitt spoke of a brother who was stolen, a life plan that was shattered and grief that she hasn't yet been able to deal with.
"Every day was tinged with sadness and I lost my smile," she said of life after her brother's death.
Pollitt was in the process of teaching his nephew to play guitar over Skype. Katie said her brother was her son's idol. She had plans to move her family to Calgary so her three children could be raised with her brother's.
Haunted by visions of the crash, Stuart says he "weeps with despair" that he was unable to be by his son's side in his dying moments.
"You do feel pain between each heartbeat and you can feel that your heart is truly broken."
"Chris's journey has ended," said Stuart. "He would be gutted that he never reached his destination."