Mother's plea for mercy in fatal crash case

THE mother of a Hexham man killed in a crash on New Year’s Day said despite her loss she would find it more devastating if the young man responsible was separated from his loved ones.

Charles Scott, a Scottish national, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court to one charge of driving in a dangerous manner causing death.

The court heard that Scott was driving with Troy Jenkins, 35, and his young son as passengers on the Hexham-Chatsworth Road at 10.55pm on New Year’s Day this year when the ute began to drift off the road.

Mr Jenkins reached over to correct the steering wheel, causing the ute to roll and throwing both he and his son out. Mr Jenkins died at the scene.

The court heard Scott, who had a blood-alcohol level double the legal limit, had been drinking with Mr Jenkins and decided to drive because he believed he was the least intoxicated.

A victim impact statement read to the court on behalf of Mr Jenkins’s mother, Janet Jenkins, said the sudden and tragic loss of her son had affected all her family.

She said despite her heartbreak she would find it more heartbreaking if Scott, now 23, could not be with his loved ones in Scotland and it would help her family heal to know he was safe with his family.  

Scott was very remorseful and he would have to live with that horrific night for the rest of his life, she said.

The court heard Mr Jenkins and Scott were friends who had worked together on a Hexham farm and both families had supported each other throughout the hearing.

Judge Julian Leckie heard that since the crash Scott had moved back to Scotland and been heavily involved with drink-driver education.

References submitted to the court noted Scott had been diagnosed with dyslexia as a child but had worked hard to graduate from university with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

References from police and other people who had witnessed his public speaking as part of his drink-driver education work said those present were moved by his story.

Defence counsel Michael O’Connell said Scott’s guilty plea, good character, the high level of support from his family, his work done in Scotland to educate others, his remorse and the attitude of Mr Jenkins’s family should be taken into account when sentencing.

Judge Julian Leckie said it was extraordinary the Jenkins family had found it within themselves to forgive Scott.

Scott’s bail was extended and he will appear for sentencing on Friday morning.