THE wife of a truckie who rolled a sheep truck near Coleraine, killing their nine-year-old daughter, yesterday told a court her family would be completely devastated if her husband was jailed.
Robin Iain Jones, 38, previously of Murray Bridge and now Queensland, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday to dangerous driving causing death after his B-double truck rolled off the Glenelg Highway on November 27, 2012.
His nine-year-old daughter Tara was ejected from the truck cabin during the accident and died of her injuries.
Yesterday magistrate Ron Saines imposed a two-year jail sentence which was suspended for two years. Jones’ driver’s licence was also cancelled for two years.
His wife Paige told the magistrate via a video link with Bundaberg that she had ongoing issues which led to her not eating or sleeping, “basically closing down” and “falling into a black hole”.
She said if her husband was jailed she would have to upend her younger daughter’s life and find somewhere to live.
“I would have to tell her that two years ago we were a family of four and now we are a family of two,” she said. Mrs Jones said her husband was now the primary care provider for their younger daughter.
She said the couple were in dire financial straits, they were 14 weeks behind in their rent and she couldn’t cope for 24 hours while her husband was in Victoria facing court.
Asked if her daughter would cope if her father was jailed, Mrs Jones said: “Not at all. She’s already lost her big sister.” Jones, an experienced truck driver, was travelling down a steep descent between Casterton and Hamilton with his wife and two daughters, aged nine and six, when the truck failed to take a bend, crashed through a guard rail and rolled down an embankment.
Mr Saines said other aggravating factors such as fatigue, alcohol, drugs or overtaking were conspicuously absent.
The magistrate said a full recovery by Jones was doubtful and it would be almost inhumane to immediately imprison Jones due to his overwhelming remorse.
Jones said that with the court case now completed his family could now focus on grieving for their daughter and sister.