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A mother and daughter wept and hugged in court Tuesday after a jury found Andrew Fallows guilty of drunk driving causing the death of 18-year-old Shania Slater.
“I’m so happy with the jury’s verdict … but I won’t forget what he did to my daughter,” said a tearful mother, Rose Looyengh, of Orillia, outside of court.
With broken hearts, family members listened during the trial to how Fallows moved the bloodied, broken and dying Slater so that he could climb into her passenger seat to avoid being charged. She was airlifted to Toronto hospital and died of head and facial injuries nine days later.
“I hope his new prison friends flip-flop him around like he flip-flopped my daughter around like she didn’t matter,” said the mother, with tears welling in her eyes. “She was dying and he treated her with no respect — he just wanted to get out of it.”
Fallows will be sentenced in October after being found guilty of charges, including impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death.
Court heard he was driving in his mother’s pickup truck with almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood when he careened into a concrete divider on Hwy. 11 — north of Barrie — at around 3 a.m. on Oct. 4, 2014.
He had no licence, no insurance and a previous conviction for impaired driving. Court heard his mother bought the truck and allowed her son to drive whenever he wanted.
His lawyer tried to convince the jury that either Slater was driving — or that there was a third phantom driver not seen by any of the eye witnesses.
“The allegations are horrific and his conduct was tremendously callous,” said Crown attorney Lynn Saunders, who asked that Fallows be taken into custody immediately while waiting for sentencing. Justice John McCarthy agreed, noting Fallows’ previous driving record.
“It’s apparent to me he is at a risk to reoffend,” said the judge.
As two officers snapped on the handcuffs and lead Fallows away, his mother winced, wept and silently left the courtroom.
‘SHANIA WAS MY HEART AND SOUL’
Tom Newman had a tough start from a young age after his father was brutally murdered.
But a knife was twisted in his heart again when a drunk driver caused the death of the love of his life, then tried to blame him and say Newman was the driver.
“It’s tough,” said Newman, “I lost my father, I lost my girlfriend and then I get publicly blamed for her death.”
Newman, 29, of Orillia, was the main target of the defence in a trial that delved into the death of his girlfriend, Shania Slater.
On Tuesday, a jury found his former friend, Andrew Fallows, guilty of drunk driving causing her death after he drove with almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.
After hitting a concrete barrier on Hwy. 11 at around 3 a.m. on Oct. 4, 2014, Fallows moved Slater’s body as she lay dying so that he could take her place in the passenger seat, court heard.
During the trial, the defence called Newman “a liar” and tried, but failed to convince a jury that Newman was the driver then fled the bloody scene. Newman was not in the vehicle or even near the crash when it happened.
“It makes me angry,” said Newman in a later interview. “That I could be blamed for her death like that. Shania was my heart and soul. I loved her then and I love her now.”
When Newman was 12, his father, Gary Newman, a taxi driver, was stabbed to death 29 times as he took his last call on June 28, 2001.
His killer, Kelly Thackery, now 36, formerly of Barrie, hopped in the cab that night and asked Newman to stop for a moment on a desolate stretch of road, just south of Barrie. He stabbed his victim to death “to see what it felt like to kill somebody,” he later told a witness.
Thackeray was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder with no chance of parole for eleven years in 2004. After serving 11 years he was set free and is now on full parole.
“Life can be tough,” said Newman. “But I do OK, I guess. I just keep trudging along.”
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