A Ukrainian heiress who killed six pedestrians after running a red light in her Lexus, has issued a grovelling apology to her victims after admitting her guilt.
Glamorous oligarch’s daughter Alyona Zaitseva, 20, begged for forgiveness during a court appearance in Kharkiv, Ukraine, telling judges she is ready to face ‘punishment’.
Footage of the 18 October crash, which also injured five people while Zaitseva walked away unharmed, went viral and caused shock around the world.
Guilty: Heiress Alyona Zaitseva, 20, looks downcast as she is led into a court in Kharkiv, Ukraine today for a hearing
A handcuffed Zaitseva swore to never drive again as she was remanded in custody until February as investigations continue into the horrific smash.
Fighting back tears, in an emotional appeal from a glass ‘court cage’ she addressed the bereaved and injured, pleading: ‘I sympathise – and ask you for forgiveness.
‘I know that it will not change anything, but please forgive me if you can.
‘I pray every day for the dead and the victims. If it was possible to turn everything back, I would give half my life.
‘I’ll never sit at the wheel of a car again. I did not want that to happen. Please forgive me.’
If convicted of dangerous driving causing death, she faces up to ten years in prison.
Deadly: Zaitseva killed six pedestrians after running a red light in her Lexus in October
Glamorous: The 20-year-old is the daughter of a multi-millionaire oligarch
Video footage shows the moment Alyona Zaitseva comes speeding through a junction and hitting a Volkswagen, which sent her Lexus spinning into pedestrians
Looking tired and drawn after almost two months in an overcrowded detention centre, she replied to rumours that she was on illegal drugs before the crash.
She insisted that had taken no more than painkillers she has been prescribed for a decade since being injured herself in a terrible road accident.
‘I know that everyone thinks that I am a drug addict,’ she told the hushed court.
‘I do not want the victims first to think that the accused is a drug addict.
‘I’m not a drug addict. I never took drugs. It’s dangerous to me because of my injuries.
‘If I ever take drugs, for me there can be a fatal outcome. I admit my guilt.
‘I am ready to be responsible and prepared to bear the punishment that the court will give me.
‘But please excuse me. This did not happen under some kind of drug.
‘Any substances that were found in my blood are from painkillers that I use from time to time because of my problems.
‘Please forgive me.’
Locked up: A handcuffed Zaitseva swore to never drive again as she was remanded in custody until February
Bribes: Her parents have been paying compensation to victims, but many have handed it back, amid claims they are seeking to minimise her sentence when she appears in court.
Shocking images showed bodies lying on the ground after the deadly crash (pictured)
Several victims have handed back money paid as compensation by her wealthy father and mother, amid claims he is seeking to minimise her sentence when she appears in court.
In a message to victims, her 61-year-old father Vasily said: ‘On our knees we are asking families of the perished and injured in this horrific road accident to forgive our daughter.’
Zaitseva is believed to have been driving at 64 mph, double the speed limit.
One victim Oksana Berchenko, 27, awoke from a coma to she told she had lost her husband Alexander, 27, and sister Diana, 22,in the crash.
The devastated widow later begged fellow-victims not to accept ‘compensation’ from Zaitseva’s energy tycoon father.
Ukraine’s courts are notoriously corrupt and she called for a fair verdict in the trial next year.
‘My happy life turned into the worst nightmare’, said Oksana.
She has deep scars on her face, head injuries and a severely broken pelvis.
Alexander’s mother Svetlana was furious to find £1,400 had been paid into her account without her knowledge.
‘I want to return it,’ she said. ‘We are like dogs for them. They throw us a bone – and that’s it.’
In an earlier hearing after the crash Zaitseva had wept as she was refused bail .