News: A family in grief – ‘indescribable pain’ after three die in crash as young dad to blame is locked up in tears

News: A family in grief – ‘indescribable pain’ after three die in crash as young dad to blame is locked up in tears

Another Lincolnshire Highlights news story…

The heartbroken family of three people who died in crash caused by a drink-driver have released a heartfelt tribute on the day their killer was jailed.

Marko Makula, 22, and Jana Kockova, 21, were killed when Tommy Whitmore crashed into them after driving down the wrong way of the westbound carriageway of the Frank Perkins Parkway on Sunday, April 14 leaving their two children, Nela and Rachael, aged just one and two, orphaned.

Nineteen-year-old Tomos Kocko, Jana’s brother, was also killed after the black Ford Ranger smashed into a Renault Megane.

A court heard that Whitmore, 26, of Stonegate in Cowbit, near Spalding was drunk as well as being under the influence of cannabis and had been warned by his girlfriend not to drive.


The dad bowed his head, looked downwards and wept as he was taken away after being jailed for eight years and four months.

Speaking after the sentencing, the family of three killed released a statement speaking of their “indescribable pain” and that the “mental wounds may never heal”.

Further details have also emerged of what happened that fateful night during the hearing at Cambridge Crown Court.

Prosecutor Peter Gair said Whitmore ignored his girlfriend’s advice to sleep in his vehicle and instead drove off three minutes after she left with her parents.

(Image: Cambridgeshire Live)

He started driving at 11.51pm on April 13 and at 11.58pm Whitmore’s Ford Ranger crashed head-on into a Renault Megane on the A1139 in Peterborough, killing the three people inside.

They were driver Marko Makula, 22, his fiancee Jana Kockova, 21, who was the front seat passenger, and her 19-year-old brother Tomas Kocko, who was the rear seat passenger.

Marko and Jana, who had two children aged two and one, had been to pick up Tomas and were on their way home when the crash happened, Mr Gair said.

Their two children were being looked after at home.


(Image: Terry Harris)

Mr Gair, prosecuting, said Whitmore awoke at 3.30am on the day of offence, smoked a cannabis spliff then drove to Hitchin in Hertfordshire to work a full day at a market.

Whitmore smoked another spliff when he returned home at 7pm then went to a restaurant in Peterborough with his girlfriend, Mr Gair said.

He said Whitmore drank “two small bottles of beer” at the restaurant then went to an event at Farcet Village Hall with his girlfriend and her parents.

(Image: Terry Harris)

While at the village hall Whitmore “drank Guinness and a small amount of gin towards the end of the evening”, Mr Gair said.

Blood tests later showed he had 186 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, the court heard. The legal limit is 80 milligrammes of alcohol.

Whitmore was also over the legal limit for cannabis.

Mr Gair said Whitmore drove 470 metres down the slip road and the crash happened in lane two of the dual carriageway close to the 100-yard marker for the exit slip road he had just driven down.

He said there was no suggestion Marko, who was driving the Renault Megane, had done anything wrong, adding “there was no thinking time to react”.

Whitmore admitted causing the deaths of the three by dangerous driving and his sentencing was witnessed by family members of his victims who were assisted by an interpreter.

(Image: Terry Harris)

In mitigation, the court heard Whitmore had held a driving licence since 2010 and it was clean.

Claire Matthews, mitigating, said Whitmore had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

She described him as a “hard-working young man with a five-year-old daughter”, adding: “This was in my submission a short piece of bad driving with catastrophic consequences.”

Whitmore, who wept as he was led to the cells, was also banned from driving for nine years and two months.


(Image: Terry Harris)

Speaking after the sentencing, PC Kevin Drury said: “There is no sentence that can bring back the parents of the two young children who have been orphaned by Whitmore’s actions or bring comfort to the families of the three young victims but Whitmore is now behind bars and being punished.

“Driving while drunk and under the influence of drugs is extremely reckless, incredibly dangerous and, as this case demonstrates, can have fatal consequences.

“Anyone considering drinking or taking drugs and getting behind the wheel should pay heed to this case, which has devastated three families and led to a lengthy prison sentence for a young man.”

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