A Napier man who killed his wife and a young man after falling asleep at the wheel will live with his actions forever, a grieving family says.
Cedric John Edwards, a South African-born manager, was in Napier District Court yesterday for the first time.
With a sling over an injured arm, he pleaded guilty through his lawyer to seven charges relating to a July 17 car crash on the Hawke's Bay Expressway. The crash left two dead and six injured.
The 49-year-old has admitted driving carelessly causing the death of his wife Cheryl 43, and Hastings apprentice mechanic Stephen Temperton, 18. Both had been front-seat passengers.
Edwards also pleaded guilty to five counts of careless driving causing injury to his two daughters and to three others in the car Mr Temperton was in.
Edwards stood in the dock as Mr Temperton's family sat at the back of the court.
Two of the dead teen's injured friends also turned up - their injuries still evident by the back brace one wore and the crutches another needed to walk.
Edwards, who will be sentenced on October 12, crashed after an early morning flight to Palmerston North at the end of a family holiday in Brisbane.
According to police, the family touched down at the airport just after midnight. After clearing customs , Edwards began the 2 1/2 hour , 180 km drive home to Napier.
Near Dannevirke he was feeling a little tired but the feeling was short-lived and he continued driving.
At 3.15am his car crossed the centre line straight into the path of the oncoming Honda.
The court heard Edwards was remorseful for the crash, and had begun restorative justice.
Napier District Court judge Geoff Rea convicted Edwards on all seven charges, and remanded him at large for sentencing next month. After his appearance , Edwards was taken out of court through a back entrance. The grieving Temperton family embraced each other out the front.
Stephen's father Warren told The Dominion Post the guilty pleas were some "sort of closure" but it had been difficult seeing Edwards face-to-face.
I would rather not be there - it doesn' t bring Stephen back," Mr Temperton said.
"It doesn't get easier"
Mr Temperton said the family had no malice towards Edwards, who had his own "life sentence" to serve.
"He has to live with the death of his wife so he has been given a life sentence."
Mr Temperton said the decision to drive while tired had been "stupidity" that cost two lives.
"You can never stop stupidity"
Roy Temperton, Stephen's grandfather, said Edwards' actions were "thoughtless".
Stephen's family say he was a "typical teenager" who was into his second year as a motor mechanic apprentice. He wanted to work in the trade and travel overseas.
"He was fun-loving and full of life - just a joy to have around, " his mother Christine said.
Stephen's three friends who were injured would also suffer over a "lifetime" because of their injuries, Warren Temperton said.
© 2005 The Dominion Post, Fairfax New Zealand