Phillip Bannan bought three bottles of wine and - after several afternoon drinks - decided to go for a drive.
Despite being disqualified for previous drink-driving and having no warrant of fitness, he packed an overnight bag and got into his Ford Mondeo to travel the 87km from his hometown of Akaroa to Christchurch.
He stopped on the way to buy more alcohol and had further drinks with a friend in Christchurch.
It was about 8pm when Bannan's 89km/h in a 50km/h zone alerted police, but the 22-year-old had no intention of stopping for them.
About the same time, friends Norman Fitt and Dee Jordan were heading home after one of their regular gym outings.
The pair, aged 73 and 67, had done an hour of Body Attack - a form of high-intensity aerobics - and were as usual "yipping and yahooing" and providing inspiration for other much younger participants.
After finishing they headed off in Mr Fitt's Daihatsu Terios. Twenty minutes later the worlds of Mr Fitt, Ms Jordan and Bannan collided.
Bannan was fleeing police when he drove through a red light at a central Christchurch intersection and slammed into the Terios, sending it several metres into the air.
Mr Fitt was killed instantly. Ms Jordan died before she reached hospital.
Bannan, who yesterday pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court to their manslaughter, told police he did not stop for officers pursuing him because he knew his vehicle would be impounded.
"He acknowledged he knew there was a real risk of people being injured or dying due to his speed and running red lights," said the police summary of the incident.
But Bannan "showed no signs of remorse for his actions".
Speaking yesterday, Ms Jordan's daughter, Tania Lamb, said the dead pair's families were relieved that Bannan had pleaded guilty and they did not have to endure a prolonged trial.
"Our mother and Norm had no control over what happened that night - the night they were killed - and we have no control over what happens next.
"We can only hope that the justice system will result in an appropriate sentence, if there is such a sentence.
"But nothing will ever compensate for the loss of our mother and her friend Norm."
A blood sample taken from him after the crash showed a level of 174mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - more than double the legal limit of 80mg.
But he is yet to plead to a charge of drink driving and other remaining charges of dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.
He is being held in custody until his sentencing for the two counts of manslaughter on December 15.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Phillip Bruce Bannan III
We seldom publish a full news story, unedited, and without comment. However we've followed the tragic case of the deaths of Norm Fitt and Deidre Jordan right from the beginning. Phillip Bruce Bannan has pleaded guilty to their manslaughter; here is a sobering account of his actions, and their tragic consequences, as told by Jarrod Booker from the Herald: