The Dutch businessman accused of running a stop sign and
causing a crash that killed a Christchurch woman and two
12-year old girls has pleaded guilty today.
Johannes Jacobus Appelman, 52, appeared at Christchurch
District Court to admit causing the deaths of Sally Vanessa
Summerfield, 49, her daughter Ella Yasmin Summerfield, 12,
and Ella's friend Abi Hone, 12, on May 31.
Ms Summerfield's 48-year-old husband, Shane, who was driving,
suffered serious injuries.
Appelman was given a registrar's remand three days after the
crash, and was due to appear next month.
In a surprise appearance today, he pleaded guilty to three
counts of careless use of a vehicle causing death and one
charge of careless use of a vehicle causing injury.
Appelman, who received minor injuries in the crash, ran a
stop sign at the Thompsons Track and Somerton Road
intersection near Rakaia. His car collided with a Volvo
carrying the four people from Christchurch on their way to
visiting family friends at Lake Ohau.
Appelman, who was represented by Christchurch lawyer Phil
Shamy, stood in the dock today in a sling.
Appelman's Christchurch lawyer Phil Shamy said his client was
"a man of substance" who has "clearly accepted he was in the
He wanted to meet the Hone and Summerfield families when they
were ready, Mr Shamy said.
Mr Shamy said Appelman had no memory of the accident.
"It's simply a blank to him, however, he does accept
responsibility for it," Mr Shamy said.
What happened was a moment of inattention which has had
"remarkably tragic" consequences, the lawyer told the court.
A bid to have his bail conditions varied today was declined
by Judge John Strettell. Details of the application were
Appelman was remanded on existing bail to be sentenced at
Christchurch District Court on July 16.
The judge called for a probation report to address the issue
Both Appelman and Mr Shamy refused to comment as they left
Early this month The Christchurch Star revealed Appelman had
been involved in a previous crash in Canterbury.
Senior Sergeant Scott Banfield confirmed Appelman had been
involved in another accident, but wouldn't say when it
Media tonight said it had happened on the same day Appelman's
car hit the Summerfields' vehicle.
"We are aware of that [previous crash]. We have information
at hand and are investigating that," he told The Star.
"It took place in Canterbury. There was no other party
Senior Sergeant Banfield would not discuss any other details
of the previous crash. However, he said it formed a part of
the police investigation into the fatal crash near Rakaia.
Contrary to previous reports, Appelman was not a tourist, but
a regular visitor to Canterbury.