A UK soldier who ploughed into two promising teenage athletes after drinking with colleagues has been jailed for six years.

Michael Casey, a serving British Army soldier with 4 RIFLES, admitted knocking down and killing Stacey Burrows, 16, and Lucy Pygott, 17 in November.

Lucy Pygott
Lucy Pygott was one of two teenagers killed in the collision

The 24-year-old was driving significantly over the 30mph speed limit and was over the legal drink-driving limit, with 46 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

He went through red lights at a pedestrian crossing on Queen's Avenue, near his barracks in Aldershot. The two teenagers had waited until the traffic lights were red and the green man signalled before they started to cross.

Casey had not seen the traffic light because he had been distracted by vomit left in the passenger area of the car by a colleague he had given a lift to earlier, Winchester Crown Court heard.

The stretch of road where the collision took place

Casey's six-year jail sentence means he should be released on licence after three years. He was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.

As the sentence was announced by Judge Keith Cutler, Stacey's mother Helen Burrows cried out from the public gallery:

"I do not get my daughter back in three years, do I."

Reading her victim impact statement to the court, Lucy's mother Lisa Pygott said:

"Mr Casey has broken our precious family, we are lost without Lucy. The British Army trains soldiers to kill, Mr Casey killed with his loaded weapon of a hot hatch car."

The teenage pair were on a training run when they were hit by Casey's black Ford Focus on November 8, 2016.

Stacey Burrows seen taking part in a race
Stacey Burrows seen taking part in a race

The soldier had been drinking alcohol at the Queen Hotel pub, marking a colleague's departure. 

The court heard that there would have been at least six seconds between the amber traffic light first illuminating and the girls starting to cross, giving Casey at least six seconds to react to the presence of the crossing and the pedestrians.

After the sentencing Sgt Mark Furse, senior investigating officer, said:

"This is a truly tragic case which has had a huge impact on everyone who knew Stacey and Lucy. Both had such promising futures ahead of them but those were so cruelly ripped away from them because of Mr Casey's stupidity and recklessness behind the wheel."

"Now the devastated families of Stacey and Lucy are forced to live on without them, knowing that their heartbreak could have so easily been avoided if Mr Casey had made the right decision and not driven that evening.

"As the court heard, not only was Mr Casey over the drink-drive limit, witnesses from the scene told our officers that he was travelling significantly above the 30mph speed limit and he himself admitted he was distracted.

"Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks that these are risks worth taking and that this will never happen to them."

"Driving while under the influence of alcohol leads to poor judgement, increased risk-taking and ultimately in this case, the death of two young girls.

"It is not worth the risk, it could happen to you and not only will you spend time in prison, you will have to live with the fact that you have taken someone's life and destroyed countless others."

Paying tribute to Lucy after the sentencing her family said: "Lucy was a truly exceptional girl; in appearance, personality, achievements and potential.

"She should have been allowed to enjoy many more happy years."