A judge whose brother died in a road smash offered his sympathy to the families of two teenage athletes who were killed by an alleged dangerous driver while training.
Michael Casey, 24, a soldier, stands accused of killing Stacey Burrows, 16, and Lucy Pygott, 17, while they were on a training run near a barracks.
He appeared before a court for the first time today and entered no pleas to two charges of causing death by dangerous driving.
The teenagers were hit by a black Ford Focus in Queen’s Avenue, Aldershot, Hampshire, last November.
The scene of the alleged crime is near Aldershot Garrison.
District Judge Phillip Gillibrand, at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court, expressed his sympathy to family members of the two victims.
He said: “I would like to pass on my sympathy to you. I do not know the incident but I myself lost my brother in a road traffic accident.
“I know the trauma and the anguish you must be going through, I send you my sympathy.”
The 24-year-old defendant, wearing a blue suit, spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
He did not enter pleas to the two charges but the court was told he was likely to enter a plea when the case is next heard at Winchester Crown Court on April 13.
He was released on unconditional bail until then.
The district judge told Casey: “This is a matter that must be dealt with in the crown court so I am sending these cases and you to Winchester Crown Court.”
Tributes paid to girls
The girls were members of Aldershot, Farnham and District Athletic Club.
Relatives of Stacey said following her death that her motto in life was “work hard”.
The family of Lucy said she had been an “absolute joy to us” and they felt lucky to have had her as part of their lives for 17 years.
Allan Leiper, the girls’ running club team manger, said after the tragedy: “These girls were only following their dreams to be the best runners in the best running club in the world. Rest in peace girls.”
Niels de Vos, chief executive of UK Athletics, added: “All at UK Athletics send our deepest sympathies, this is a tragedy which will be felt across the athletics community.”