Judge spares Warrnambool woman a stint in jail for culpable driving that killed her partner

A WARRNAMBOOL woman who ran over and killed her partner will live the rest of her life knowing she caused the death of the man she loved and the father of her children, a court has heard.

Kylie Maree Wythe, 40, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court to culpable driving causing death and was yesterday sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for two years.

Judge Gerard Mullaly said once again the combination of alcohol and driving led to a tragedy for all involved.

On July 8, 2012 at 12.20am,  Wythe ran over Mr Haddrick in the driveway of an Aitkins Road home.

Earlier in the night Wythe and Mr Haddrick had an argument and Mr Haddrick went to the Aitkins Road address. 

His friend later thought he was drunk and needed to go home and sent Wythe a text message.

Wythe, who had a blood alcohol reading of .138, drove to the house with her son in the car.

When she arrived she had a verbal disagreement with Mr Haddrick. Mr Haddrick got out of the car and fell in the driveway and Wythe headed home.

Judge Gerard Mullaly said Wythe’s son then pleaded or asked her to go back and get his father. He said Wythe drove aggressively through a roundabout and did not see Mr Haddrick lying on the driveway in a drunken state. Mr Haddrick died at the scene.

Judge Mullaly said Wythe would live the rest of her life with the heavy burden that she had caused the death of the man she loved and the father of her children.

He said Mr Haddrick died far too young and his mother and sister had been left broken-hearted and so too had Wythe and her two children.

He said he had read and taken into account Mr Haddrick’s sister’s victim impact statement.

The court heard Wythe and Mr Haddrick met as teenagers and had been in a relationship for more than 20 years.

Judge Mullaly said they had a strong, enduring bond which had survived many difficult tests and the most important aspect of their relationship was their two children.

The court heard Wythe’s offending was at the lower end of the scale in terms of moral culpability.

Judge Mullaly said on the night of the incident Wythe had gone to bed and was not intending to drive but felt a sense of obligation to rescue Mr Haddrick.

He said if someone committed an offence of this kind, ordinarily they would be imprisoned for a substantial period of time, but the circumstances of the offending and Wythe’s circumstances were far from ordinary.

He said Wythe’s daughter had a profound disability which required a constant vigil and unrelenting care and attention.

Judge Mullaly said he had never read so many letters and references which praised Wythe’s dedication and love for her children.

He said Wythe’s son acutely missed his father and had a feeling of guilt for urging her to go back and pick him up and also the burden of what might happen to his mother.

Judge Mullaly said sending Wythe to jail would border on cruelty to her children and her circumstances called for sympathy and compassion.

Wythe’s driver’s licence was cancelled and she was disqualified from driving for two years from July 8, 2012.

Judge Mullaly said if Wythe had pleaded not guilty and been found guilty by a jury she would have been sentenced to three years and nine months’ jail, with a minimum non-parole period of 18 months.

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