The Dutch businessman who ran a stop sign and killed a woman
and two young girls has walked free from court today, with a
15-month driving ban and an order to pay $25,000 in emotional
Johannes Jacobus Appelman, 52, admitted causing the deaths of
Sally Vanessa Summerfield, 49, her daughter Ella Yasmin
Summerfield, 12, and Ella's friend Abi Hone, 12, on Queen's
He crashed another rental car hours earlier - for which he
pleaded guilty to a charge of careless use of a motor vehicle
at Christchurch District Court today - and had also been
clocked by police speeding.
The court heard that Appelman, who has a ''significant''
international business which sees him regularly visit New
Zealand and Australia, is a father of three children, with a
child of similar age to Abi and Ella.
Mr Appelman, who has been in the country since the crash on
bail to a Canterbury address, arrived at court and sat in the
public benches waiting for his case to be called, supported
by a woman who held his hand.
He was allowed to have his bail varied after pleading guilty
so he could return to the Netherlands and explain to his
children what he had done.
A judge was satisfied that he was not a flight risk and that
he would return for sentencing today.
Members of both the Summerfield and Hone families packed in
to the courtroom today.
Shane Summerfield spoke for the first time today.
He read an emotional victim impact statement where he spoke
of the ''unbearable'' pain, and that he hoped Appelman's
guilt would ''remain with him forever''.
On that day, ''half my family'' was taken away, he said.
Taking support from his family members, he managed to fight
back tears to pay tribute to the ''special, precious, kind,
caring, loving'' wife Sally, who was his ''soul mate'', and
the ''agony aunt of Sumner''.
His daughter Ella was ''a daddy's girl'' who had the ability
to make people feel special.
Now, Mr Summerfield says he feels ''like a lost soul ... a
shadow of a man'', trapped in ''a very deep black hole''.
''Written words will never express the devastation [Appelman]
has caused so many people,'' he told the court.
''He must take responsibility for his actions.
''For us to remain here in Christchurch, we will never have a
reprieve from the loss of the three girls. It will live on
like a recurring nightmare.''
Sally's son, and Ella's brother Sam also read a victim impact
where he paid tribute to ''the two most beautiful girls''.
They were the ying to him and his dad's yang - as they were
''fun, carefree, party girls, who loved socialising, shopping
Appelman remained emotionless in the dock as the powerful
statements were made.
After the victim impact statements, Judge David Saunders
asked the court to observe a minute's silence to pay tribute
to the devastated families.
Mr Summerfield, a 48-year old dentist, was driving when the
family Volvo from Christchurch to visit friends at Lake Ohau.
Appelman was driving a newly rented Subaru - from a different
company from the one he crashed earlier that day - when he
went through the stop sign at the Thompsons Track and
Somerton Road intersection near Rakaia at about 100kmh at
3.55pm on May 31 and smashed into the Volvo's passenger side.
Both cars ended up in a paddock.
Mrs Summerfield, also known as Sally Rumble, was a front seat
passenger and died instantly.
The 12-year old girls were backseat passengers and were also
killed on impact.
Mr Summerfield suffered broken ribs, a ruptured diaphragm,
lacerated spleen and kidney, a left side hemothorax and torn
aorta in the horror smash.
Appelman says the crash is ''simply a blank''.
Last month, 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.
Defence counsel Phil Shamy offered an unreserved apology to
the Summerfield family in court today, and also to the Hone
''There is nothing that Mr Appelman can say, nothing he can
do, there is nothing he can offer that will ever make up for
the harm he has done,'' Mr Shamy said.
''Any remorse he feels, which he does... pales against the
pain and the anger and the suffering that he has cause.
''He is deserving of your anger, he is deserving of the
sadness that you feel.''
Appelman had been here on business, having arrived via
Australia where he had a layover and rest, before landing at
He picked up a rental car and had been focused on his GPS
when he lost control and damaged the vehicle, Mr Shamy said.
He booked in to a hotel and rested.
The following day he had business appointments in the
Ashburton area before having lunch.
He was on his way to another appointment when he ran the stop
sign which Mr Shamy said he simply did not see.
''He did not do this on purpose. He did not see it. He has no
memory of why this occurred. The next thing he remembers is
waking up beside his car. He cannot explain to himself why
Appelman has gone through a restorative justice conference
with the Summerfields who came away feeling that he was not
remorseful for what he had done.
But Mr Shamy assured them that he was.
He had undergone counselling.
He had also met the Hones on a more informal basis, and made
a payment to them which Mr Shamy said was not made to try to
compensate in any way for their daughter's death, but to
contribute to costs.
''There is nothing he can do to take away what he has done.''
He had made the same offer to the Summerfields.
Judge Saunders described the crash as a ''tragedy of immense
proportions'' which has had ''horrendous consequences''.
The judge said there was little to be gained in sending him
to prison for two months or thereabouts or in sentencing him
to home detention.