A stoned driver who killed two cyclists while speeding in a stolen car has been jailed for 11 years.
Colin Smith was found guilty of causing the deaths of mother-of-two Clare Killey, 45, from Childwall, and father-of-two Anthony Cope, from Halewood, both Liverpool.
He had denied the charges, as well as one of causing serious injury to a passenger in another car, Katy Nicholson, by dangerous driving.
But the 23-year-old, of Lavender Gardens, Warrington, was convicted by a jury of the three offences at Liverpool Crown Court in May.
On Thursday, he was handed an 11-year prison sentence for two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, four counts of fraud, one count of receiving stolen goods and one count of drug driving.
Smith was also banned from driving for 10-and-a-half years.
Following the sentencing, Roads Policing Inspector Stuart McIver, from Merseyside Police, said: “Smith has been left in no doubt about the consequences of his reckless actions, which he can now reflect on while serving significant jail time.
“Driving while under the influence of drugs and driving dangerously can have fatal consequences and I hope this shows others that they will be put before the courts and prosecuted it they are found guilty of similar offences."
In a statement, Mr Cope’s partner said that she was “existing, not living in a kind of limbo” since her “loving, caring” partner’s death.
She said: “Losing Tony has left a massive hole in our lives. He was everything to us. He is my last thought before I go to sleep and my first when I wake up.
"It still feels surreal as this is the kind of thing that happens to other people. I still have to catch my breath when I realise he’s gone and I can’t see him or hold him.”
Ms Killey’s widower said in a statement that his family was “damaged beyond full repair forever” following the accident.
He said: “I hope the defendant feels remorse. I know he must because he’s human… I refuse to feel hatred towards him because it will only grow down towards my kids and I’m not having that.
"Nothing can change what happened or bring back my amazing wife who’s job and personality was all about helping people and improving the lives of other families."
Smith was driving a stolen white Ford Fiesta ST Turbo at 72 mph in a 40 mph zone while more than twice the legal limit for cannabis when he crashed into a red Ford Fiesta on Dunlop Road in Speke at around 7pm on 28 February, 2019.
Michael Morgan, driving the red Fiesta, was intending to turn right when "almost immediately" his car was struck by Smith.
Martine Snowdon, prosecuting, said: "Mr Morgan says that his vehicle came to a stop and he turned to see what he described as carnage behind him."
Travelling in the opposite direction to Smith were the cyclists and behind them a Ford C-Max, driven by Adenike Falade, with front seat passenger Nicholson.
Snowdon said Ms Falade described how the two Fiestas collided and the white one swerved into the wrong lane, into a "head on" collision with the cyclists.
Ms Nicholson, who suffered a fractured collarbone while a passenger in the Ford C-Max, said she watched Smith and a passenger get out and run towards some houses.
Members of the public rushed to try to help the cyclists but Ms Killey died at the scene of the crash and Mr Cope fought for his life in hospital for another three weeks before he passed away on 18 March, 2019.
During his trial Smith initially denied speeding and tried to blame Mr Morgan for the fatal crash for "pulling out”.
Later in the trial he told the jury he "might" have been speeding, but didn't believe he was doing 72mph.