NEWMARKET, Ont. — A woman who lost her three children and father in a horrific drunk driving crash broke into tears Tuesday as she told the man responsible for their deaths that she wished he could experience the debilitating grief that will haunt her forever.
“I don’t have anyone left to call me mom …. You killed all my babies,” Jennifer Neville-Lake said, looking straight at Marco Muzzo across the courtroom in Newmarket, Ont.
“I miss my kids, I miss my dad, I want my old life back …. I would not wish this horror I am living on anyone but you. You deserve to know exactly what it feels like to have every single child you created meet someone like you.”
Muzzo, who wore a dark suit and listened from the prisoner’s box, sat still and looked straight ahead as Neville-Lake spoke.
Many in the courtroom, including at least one police officer, wiped their eyes as the Brampton, Ont., mother recalled learning that the crash she’d seen on TV actually involved her family, and how she rushed to hospital just in time to see two of her children taken off life support.
Muzzo pleaded guilty earlier this month to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm and was released on bail until Tuesday.
Since the Sept. 27 crash, Neville-Lake said, the home that once echoed with laughter has been left eerily quiet.
“The roaring silence that has been left behind as a result of your actions is so deafening,” she said.
Almost everything in Neville-Lake’s life, from the family home to favourite songs, “elicits pain and overwhelming sadness,” she said.
The woman — described by her relatives as a “supermom” — said she has lost her identity along with her children and now struggles to carry out even the most mundane tasks.
“Your actions have shattered my world completely,” she said.
Her husband, Edward Neville-Lake, said in a statement that he has suffered from suicidal thoughts and intense anxiety since the crash, adding the loss has affected their marriage.
“I feel lost in my life … it has been destroyed beyond repair,” he said in a statement read in court.
Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly and the children’s 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville, died after the van they were in was T-boned by Muzzo’s SUV in Vaughan, Ont., last September.
The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured in the crash.
Months later, relatives said they were still grappling to make sense of the tragedy — a sentiment shared by many in the community.
Neville-Lake’s mother said she was now condemned to living out her life alone, deprived of her grandchildren and the man she loved most.
“I have no one to grow old with anymore,” she said in a statement read out in court, adding it would have been easier if her husband had died from illness because she would have had the chance to say goodbye.
The children’s uncle voiced regret for all the promises he made to his niece and nephews that can now never be fulfilled. Jonathan Neville, who worked as a long-haul driver, said he hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel since the collision.
Another relative described visiting the site of the crash and feeling so overcome with emotion that she vomited.
Many in the community also expressed lingering trauma. A trustee for the Catholic school board wrote that the fatal crash “scarred us indelibly” and shook the community’s sense of security.
Muzzo, who is being held in segregation at his request, is expected to speak when the sentencing hearing resumes Wednesday. But Neville-Lake said outside court that nothing he could say would bring her comfort.
The 29-year-old man, a member of a wealthy Canadian family that made its fortune in drywalling, had initially faced a dozen counts of impaired driving and six more charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
The court heard he was so drunk at the time of the crash that he urinated on himself and needed help standing.