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Thief who killed 2 with stolen car gets 7 years

FAMILIES of two motorcyclists killed by a North Vancouver man who crashed into them with a stolen car say they're disappointed he won't be spending more time in jail.

FAMILIES of two motorcyclists killed by a North Vancouver man who crashed into them with a stolen car say they're disappointed he won't be spending more time in jail.

"We're all pretty worn out and there's definitely some disappointment there," said Coral Forslund, the sister of Marta Ralph, 56, who was killed along with Larry Machnee, 59, when a car driven by Lucas Ian Brown slammed into their motorcycle on the Malahat on Feb. 20, 2010.

Brown was sentenced Monday in B.C. Supreme Court to seven years in prison, and will be banned from driving for 10 years after his release.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston handed Brown two five-year sentences - to be served concurrently - for two counts of criminal negligence causing death, plus further jail time for a crime spree before and after the crash.

But because Brown got two-for-one credit for time spent in custody, he will only serve three and a half more years in jail.

"It feels like the court just sort of slaps them," said Forslund. "Three more years and the guy's going to be back out there."

Ralph and Machnee were killed when Brown struck them as he made an illegal turn across a double yellow line in a car he had stolen from a North Vancouver home earlier on Feb. 20, 2010. Machnee died at the scene while the critically injured Ralph was rushed to hospital, where she also died.

Witnesses to the crash said they saw the driver of the 2007 Honda get out uninjured, look at the accident scene and grab a jacket before running away down a steep embankment towards the water. RCMP brought in a dog team, Canadian Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter but weren't able to find him.

Police eventually tracked Brown down at the Mill Bay ferry terminal almost 24 hours later thanks to tips from the public.

A North Vancouver homeowner had reported the Honda stolen a little before dawn on the day of the accident. The man said he heard his garage door open and came downstairs to find the vehicle - and the car keys that had been stowed on the ground floor of the house - gone.

Brown was captured on video surveillance driving through the toll booth at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in West Vancouver a couple of hours later, heading to Vancouver Island.

Motorists who were on the highway that day testified they saw the Honda travelling at high speeds before the crash.

A jury found him guilty of all seven counts against him in July, following a trial.

Brown made a brief apology before he was sentenced, telling those in the court he "didn't mean to hurt anybody."

But Forslund said her family doesn't believe Brown is truly sorry. "He has shown no remorse," she said. "Real remorse would have been staying at the scene - or pleading guilty."

In addition to the sentences for criminal negligence causing death, Johnston handed Brown consecutive sentences of one year for failing to remain at the scene of an accident, six months for breaking into the North Vancouver home and six months for breaking into Bamberton Properties in Mill Bay. Brown must also serve concurrent sentences of three months for theft.

jseyd@nsnews.com

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