A Perth father’s decision not to stop after a fatal hit and run will haunt both him and the victim’s family forever, a judge has said.
Marcus Jon Beddow was today jailed for two years in the District Court after admitting he failed to stop or render assistance when his ute fatally collided with 17-year-old Tosh Kupa in Waikiki in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2013.
Beddow had instead driven to a friend’s home in a distressed state and in the next hours decided to leave the car somewhere and make a false claim to police that someone had broken into his home and stolen his car keys.
Police came to his home later that night and he confessed to failing to help the teenager.
Tosh Kupa was helped by others who later came across him in the road but paramedics were unable to save him.
While he was not charged over the crash, the judge today said it was Beddow’s decision not to stop and help the injured teenager that would haunt the victim’s family.
They would wonder whether medical assistance sooner might have saved his life, Judge Gillian Braddock said.
"Tragically, it is very unlikely that anything could have been done to assist Tosh Kupa on that night", the judge said.
But the real issue, legally and morally, was that Beddow had not done what he could to help, she said.
"The fact that somebody left somebody in the road is what really weighs on the mind of the family ... and weighs upon your mind as well," Judge Braddock said.
One moment had sparked a ripple effect with tragic consequences for many people and terrible grief for Mr Kupa’s family, she said.
The court was told Beddow was extremely remorseful and suffered post traumatic stress disorder and nightmares over his actions.
He had later admitted he didn’t stop because he didn’t think he could "stomach" the situation.
Judge Braddock accepted his remorse and that it was a natural human reaction to be scared and panic, but said that as an experienced truck driver he had known what he was doing and that it was his responsibility to stop.
Others also had to know that it was their duty as drivers to do so.
"Everybody must know that if, no matter how difficult the circumstances, one is involved in an accident the first duty is to stop and render assistance or seek help," Judge Braddock said.
Outside court, Mr Kupa’s family said they didn’t hate Beddow but were haunted by not knowing whether the teenager might have survived if he had stopped to help.
They pleaded with other drivers not to make the same mistake as Beddow.