A loving couple killed by a former footballer in a horrific motorway crash were 'undeserving of their cruel fate' their son has said.
Ex-Barnsley striker Steven Bennett, 29, was today jailed for five years after ploughing into Angela and Richard Wong at 50mph on the M56 whilst trying to plug in his phone charger.
And both of the couple's children say they have been left with pain 'never eases' following the 'needless' deaths of their parents, who had been together for more than three and a half decades.
READ MORE:Ex-footballer who killed Manchester couple after ploughing into them on M56 jailed
Angela, 56, and Richard, 62, from Northenden, had just begun their retirement and were returning home from the caravan in Wales they had just purchased when tragedy struck on Thursday, September 19, 2019.
The Toyota Avensis being driven by Angela, and in which Richard was a front seat passenger, joined a queue of stationary traffic on the inside lane of the M56 near to junction 9, the Lymm interchange.
As they waited patiently at around 5:15pm, Bennett, who was driving a 10 tonne yellow DAF engineering truck back home to south Yorkshire, smashed into the back of them at a speed of roughly 50mph.
That caused the Toyota to hit a van in front of them and led to 'several subsequent collisions', the court was told.
Both Mr and Mrs Wong suffered 'catastrophic injuries' as a result of the crash.
Mrs Wong was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Wong was rushed to hospital where he died three days later.
And the devastation caused to the family of the much-loved grandparents, who were looking forward to their retirement, was laid bare by their children in moving victim personal statements read by them in-person in the courtroom at Chester Crown Court.
Both Robert and Charlotte Wong, described sitting at their father's bedside in hospital and having to take the 'extremely difficult' decision to switch off his life-support machine, and spoke of the profound impact losing both parents had had on them.
Son Robert said: "It has been almost two years since the accident and the pain of losing both my parents, at the same time, has not become any easier.
"It's very difficult to put into words the devastation their needless deaths has caused in my life and that of my family.
"The day after the accident was informed by police and rushed to hospital to find my father in a vegetative state on life support.
"We spent the next four days by his side before making the extremely difficult decision to switch off his life support machine.
"All we could do was watch the life slip from his body.
"We were all very close and they looked after my children regularly.
"Their lives have been greatly affected as well.
"Personal achievements and things that should be a cause for celebration are overshadowed by the realisation they will never get to see them grow up."
Adding his parents were "undeserving of their cruel fate."
The couple's daughter Charlotte said: “I am a different person to the one I was before 19th September 2019, the day my parents were ripped from my life, my heart and my future.
"They were not only my parents but my best friends.
"Since their loss, I have found it hard to accept and have had issues with anger and frustration.
"I sought help from a therapist as I couldn't take the emptiness anymore.
"To quantify their loss is like trying to quantify the size of the black hole, it is endless and bleak.
"The pain I feel every day is like carrying a weight that never eases.”
Police said a total of seven vehicles were involved in the pile-up with four others injured as well as Mr and Mrs Wong.
Nina Russell, the driver of a vehicle in front two cars in front of Mr and Mrs Wong and who came to help afterwards also read a statement in court, saying: "I will never be able to erase the memory of that day from my mind."
Bennet, of Manor Crescent, Grimethorpe, Barnsley, pleaded guilty two counts of causing death by dangerous driving on the day a trial was due to begin last month.
Whilst driving he had his mobile phone propped up on the dashboard behind the steering wheel the court was told.
And a forensic analysis of it showed the charger had been plugged and unplugged, and that the screen orientation had changed twice in the time Bennett was approaching the Wong's car.
“He failed to keep any lookout at all at a busy junction, travelling at 50mph, without paying any attention while playing on his phone" Brian Wiliams prosecuting said.
Cheshire Police added afterwards that their investigations found Bennett was using the phone 'on a regular basis' on his journey from Liverpool.
Bennett's barrister Richard Barradell said he was using Google Maps and had a 'faulty connection' and was 'just trying to get his sat-nav to work.'
He has a conviction for driving whilst using a mobile phone in 2018.
Judge Simon Berkson jailed Bennett, a father of two young children, for five years.
He also banned him from driving for four years.
Police said the deaths of Mr and Mrs Wong "sent shockwaves throughout their local community."
Speaking after the case, District Crown Prosecutor Victoria Colvin, from the Mersey Cheshire CPS said: “The events of that day were really tragic. Mr and Mrs Wong were a devoted couple with lots of family and friends and had so much to live for.
"Their lives were cut short by the actions of Steven Bennett.
“He denied his wrongdoing for some time but eventually admitted what he had done, thankfully bringing this case to a relatively swift conclusion.
"When we are behind the wheel of a vehicle, we carry a big responsibility and our actions can cause dreadful consequences as we have seen in this case.
“Steven Bennett would no doubt like to turn back time but he can’t.
"He must face the consequences of what he did. The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank all of the witnesses for their help in bringing this prosecution and the family of Mr and Mrs Wong for their dignity and composure in the face of overwhelming grief.
"Our thoughts are with them at this time.”
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