He stole my fam­ily from me


The Chronicle - - Front Page - By SO­PHIE DOUGHTY Crime Re­porter so­phie.doughty@reach­plc.com

SHAME­LESS killer driver Scott Eas­ton robbed him of his fam­ily and his child­hood.

Now crash sur­vivor Macauley Gil­bert has been faced with the re­al­ity the road me­nace who ripped his life apart has learned noth­ing from the tragedy.

Macauley, from Heb­burn, South Ty­ne­side, was just eight when he sur­vived the hor­ror smash which killed his mother Paula Gil­bert, 29, her part­ner Neil Jex, 37, and their two sons – Tris­tan, three and Kaiden, seven months, in 2007.

Scott Eas­ton was jailed for seven years af­ter ad­mit­ting four counts of caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing.

Eas­ton was doz­ing at the wheel when his Ford Tran­sit van clipped the back of the fam­ily’s Citroen Saxo, in North York­shire, caus­ing it to spin out of con­trol and col­lide with trees.

Eas­ton had just three hours sleep be­fore get­ting be­hind the wheel, af­ter a heavy drink­ing ses­sion the night be­fore, Teesside Crown Court was told.

But now, 11 years on from the tragedy the 34-year-old has been back in court for driv­ing with drugs in his sys­tem.

And Macauley, now 19, has to­day told of his shock.

He said: “It does make me an­gry, but I try not to think about him.

“It has been re­ally dif­fi­cult for me grow­ing up with­out my fam­ily, but I have had all the sup­port from my fam­ily. They are on my mind all the time. I re­mem­ber the crash, it has stayed with me and it will prob­a­bly stay with me for­ever.”

Macauley and his fam­ily were trav­el­ling from their home in Heb­burn to Black­burn in Lan­cashire to see rel­a­tives when the crash hap­pened.

The young­ster was the only sur­vivor in the car and was flown by air am­bu­lance to the James Cook Hos­pi­tal in Mid­dles­brough.

Macauley was raised by his grand­par­ents fol­low­ing the crash.

Eas­ton was re­leased on li­cence af­ter serv­ing half of his seven-year sen­tence.

But he was back in court this week where he ad­mit­ted driv­ing with THC and BZE – a co­caine break­down prod­uct – in his sys­tem.

Teesside Mag­is­trates Court heard from pros­e­cu­tor Emma Barker that Eas­ton was stopped at 11.40pm on

April 26 in Stock­ton driv­ing a car on Bish­op­ton Av­enue in re­la­tion to an­other of­fence.

A drugs wipe was carried out that “sub­se­quently tested pos­i­tive for co­caine and cannabis,” she said.

Eas­ton, of Rushy­ford Av­enue, Stock­ton, had pre­vi­ously de­nied the two charges of driv­ing with a pro­por­tion of a spec­i­fied con­trolled drug in his sys­tem, but ad­mit­ted his guilt on the day of his trial.

Liz McGowan, de­fend­ing, said: “What he’s say­ing is he had taken these things some time be­fore.

“Three days be­fore he had taken the co­caine and he had smoked a joint of cannabis the night be­fore, he be­lieves about 11.30pm.”

She added: “He lives with his mum, he cares for his dis­abled sis­ter, along with his mum. He was asked by his mum on this evening when he was stopped to go and find out what had hap­pened to his brother. His brother had been in­volved in an in­ci­dent.”

A let­ter from Eas­ton’s mother was then handed to district judge Tim Cap­stick. Ms McGowan added: “Mum wanted you to know that she had asked him to go out. It doesn’t lessen his guilt but those are the cir­cum­stances.”

The court heard that Eas­ton is not work­ing at the mo­ment. He was sen­tenced to a 12-month com­mu­nity order, must carry out 120 hours of un­paid work, pay pros­e­cu­tion costs of £620 and a vic­tim sur­charge of £85.

He was also dis­qual­i­fied from hold­ing a driv­ing li­cence for 16 months.

I re­mem­ber the crash, it has stayed with me and it will prob­a­bly stay with me for­ever Macauley Gil­bert

Scott Eas­ton at Teesside Mag­is­trates Court

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