Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Mom to Marco Muzzo: 'You killed all my babies'
But which now echoes only with roaring silence.
“Because of YOU,” she says to Marco Muzzo.
The kitchen table where she taught her three children to bake, where they did their homework, coloured their pictures, wrote Santa Claus, said grace, now left with so many empty places.
“Because of YOU!”
Neville-Lake stands at the front of a packed courtroom and looks directly at the young man who stole her children.
“I am listening in vain for my kids to call out my name and I don’t hear them,” she cries. “I don’t have anyone left to call me mom. Not one left. You killed all my babies.”
Her excruciating pain, outlined in 40 minutes of gut-wrenching words ripped from her heart, leaves even court officers and the judge fighting back tears — and should be required reading for every driver who ever contemplates the selfishness of driving drunk.
It was a bright Sunday afternoon, Sept. 27, 2015, and her children — Daniel, 9, Harrison, 5, and Milagros, 2 — were late coming home from a sleepover in King City with her parents, Gary and Neriza Neville. Then she saw a collision on the news: A smashed van — a van that looked too frighteningly similar to the one they’d picked up just 94 hours before. She spotted a familiar backpack in the wreckage. “I start to scream and cry.”
At the police station, she was told her father and son Daniel were dead. “I can’t even breathe.” On the phone, a surgeon urged them to hurry to Sick Kids. On the highway, her husband, Ed Lake, kissed her goodbye and tried to jump out of the car.
The stay-at-home dad still battles suicidal thoughts. “Because of you, we now live with this horror the rest of our lives,” he said in his victim impact statement.
When they raced into the hospital, they were told Harry and Milly were brain dead, kept alive only so they could say goodbye. Neville-Lake was stunned. “I remember crying out, ‘All of them? All of my babies are gone? Not one left?’”
Their children lay cold and still. “I ask that they be put together so they can die together. The team puts my babies’ hands together and Ed and I crawl into bed with them. Everyone sings goodbye,” she recalls, the tears falling.
“I ask for time alone with my dead children. We look at their little bodies, so small. I watch my baby girl’s cervical collar fill with her blood.”
After a frantic search, she finally saw Daniel at the funeral home; he had been admitted as John Doe. It was her first glimpse of her dead father, as well. “Oh, Daddy you are so cold. I stare sobbing at the man who taught me my first signs, held my hands when I took my first steps, who taught me how to drive honourably and respect the rules of the road.”
Her life was once a happy whirlwind of two jobs and motherhood, with the added challenge of helping Harry, an amputee. “Did you know you killed a kid with special needs?” she demands.
Now she was tucking all her children into their coffins, each in their favourite clothes: Daniel in his ballet costume and basketball shoes; Harry in his favourite dress, pink hair and tiara. “Milly is buried in the new dress my parents gave her that last Friday before you ended their lives.”
Neville-Lake would later learn about their horrific injuries: Their broken necks, her father’s spinal cord found in his chest cavity, subarachnoid hemorrhage, spinal cords cut in half. She tortures herself, imagining their last moments. “Did the sounds of my kids’ necks snapping echo in the car? Is that the last sound my Daniel and my dad heard?” she asks.
“I want my kids back. I want my dad back. I want my life back.”
But they are forever gone, “because of you,” she says: Gary Neville, her babies, Daniel, Harrison and Milagros. “Those are the names of the ones who paid for your drinks with the price of their blood.”
Please share this