The mother of three children killed in a crash last September in Vaughan, Ont., Jennifer Neville-Lake, told reporters she knew it would be "gruelling" to deliver her victim impact statement during Marco Muzzo's sentencing hearing Tuesday.
"I'm their voice. This is my last chance to advocate for them, to say what happened and how it's impacted us," said Neville-Lake outside of a Newmarket, Ont., courthouse this afternoon.
Neville-Lake was asked by reporters if she "hated" Muzzo, but said that was a path she does not want to go down.
"I hate his actions. I don't think much about the drunk driver himself," said Neville-Lake.
"What hope is there when your entire world is gone. Every single piece of our lives has been altered because of somebody else," said Neville-Lake.
Court was adjourned Tuesday afternoon after the start of Muzzo's two-day sentencing hearing. His lawyer Brian Greenspan left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
Muzzo, 29, pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm in the September 2015 crash in Vaughan, Ont. Lake's children — Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, Harrison, 5, and Milly, 2, as well as their 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville, all died.
Muzzo was granted bail at the beginning of February, but a judge granted Greenspan's request today in court that Muzzo be segregated in jail overnight.
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Both Jennifer Neville-Lake and her husband, Edward Lake, delivered their victim impact statements in court today.
The father of three said that he has had suicidal thoughts, chest pains and night terrors.
"I will miss being a dad," Lake told the court in Newmarket, Ont.
"Because of you, we now live with this horror for the rest of our lives."
Tears poured down Neville-Lake's face as she recalled how she heard about the crash.
"I remember crying out, 'All of them? All of my babies are gone? Not one left?'"
She described her children's horrific injuries, before saying: "I don't have anyone left to call me mom."
"You killed all my babies. I miss my kids. I miss my dad."
Neville-Lake described walking through her home, "aimlessly" searching for her children.
"When you took my children, you took away my identity as a mother," she said. "And without my kids, I am nothing anymore."
'An unbelievable price'
Muzzo was drunk and driving 85 km/h in his SUV when he blew through a stop sign and slammed into the minivan carrying six members of the Neville-Lake family.
The children's grandmother and great-grandmother were seriously injured.
Muzzo was freed on a $1 million bond after entering his guilty pleas earlier this month.
Several family members of the victims issued statements in court Tuesday, describing the impact the crash has had on their lives.
Earlier Tuesday, Neville-Lake's brother said he tried to make it to Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children before Harrison and Milly died.
"I was two minutes too late," he said.
"Why did you drive drunk and kill three innocent kids?"
Neville-Lake's cousin, Stephanie, read a statement saying it "feels like I'm in the middle of a real-life horror story."
She described the children's mother as struggling to find meaning in daily life.
"She is here in body, but that shining spirit was annihilated," she said.
'Highest degree of negligence'
It's unclear what sentence the Crown will seek in the case, but similar impaired driving cases have resulted in sentences between five and eight years.
Muzzo's lawyer Greenspan has said his client has accepted "full responsibility" for what he did. But Greenspan hasn't elaborated on what sentence he will be seeking.
Criminal lawyer Russell Silverstein, who isn't involved in the case, suggests Muzzo's previously clean criminal record and guilty plea may reduce the punishment.
However, he said the high level of intoxication and the number of victims may be considered aggravating factors when the judge decides on a sentence.
"This is an offence of the highest degree of negligence," Silverstein said.