(Friday, May 28) THE man who caused the death of two men in a car crash near Haddenham faces years in jail, not months, his solicitor admitted on Monday.
Daniel Palanca, 32, was due to start a three-day trial at Aylesbury Crown Court, but on the first day he pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving after just one witness gave evidence.
The families of his victims, Ryan Dormer, 29, and Philip Edwards, 58, wept with relief.
The accident happened on the A418 from Haddenham to Aylesbury on July 10 last year.
Travelling at more than 80mph, he lost control on the crest of a hill travelling around a right-hand bend.
His 2.7 litre VW Golf spun out of control, hitting a Vauxhall Vectra. Palanca's car flew into the air and landed on top of a Rover 45, killing the driver, Mr Edwards.
Mr Dormer was the rear seat passenger in Palanca's car, and he, too, died in the crash.
Palanca survived even though he was not wearing a seatbelt. He maintained throughout the hearing that he could not remember the accident.
Aylesbury Crown Court was also told that:
l Palanca should never have been driving. He had been disqualified on a previous occasion and never applied for a new licence
l He had been drinking in a pub before the crash, but it was not known how far over the limit he was as his blood sample was contaminated, exaggerating the alcohol content
l He had been banned from driving on two separate occasions for drink-driving and had served a prison sentence for an offence of violence.
Palanca's own lawyer, C McCarrahar, conceded that Palanca faced years, not months, behind bars.
He said: "He is looking at a very long sentence and it seems to me he is looking at years rather than months."
Prosecutor Amjad Malik, said Palanca had carried out a number of dangerous overtaking manoeuvres including travelling on the wrong side of a pedestrian bollard and overtaking a car driven by a priest, causing him to brake sharply to avoid a collision.
An emotional John Dormer, the father of Ryan, paid tribute to his son after the hearing, and said he could never forgive Palanca for killing the 29-year-old, who was Palanca's former work colleague.
Palanca was remanded in custody and will be sentenced in four weeks' time.