A 24-year-old hoon has been sentenced to life behind bars for a hit-and-run which claimed the life of a Sudanese refugee.
Luke David Taylor will serve 12 years in jail before becoming eligible for parole after admitting he murdered William Maker on April 13 last year.
In the Supreme Court this morning, Justice Lindy Jenkins said she could not grant a defence submission that Taylor be spared a life sentence.
Justice Jenkins said she could not conclude that a life sentence was “clearly unjust” or that Taylor would not pose a risk to community safety when he was released from a finite prison sentence.
Taylor was speeding, screeching his tyres and revving his engine before he drove directly at Mr Maker on Baltimore Parade in Merriwa just after 9.30am.
Less than half-an-hour earlier, a friend had warned Taylor that he was stupid to get behind the wheel to visit his sister and that he could end up killing somebody.
Mr Maker was standing in the middle of the residential road waving his arms and yelling at Taylor, whose licence was suspended and who was driving a borrowed car, to slow down.
Taylor then fled the scene, having a few beers and a glass of champagne with friends before being apprehended by police.
Justice Jenkins said Taylor had a “poor” driving record, which included six drink driving related convictions and five offences of driving under suspension.
She said Taylor had not attempted to slow down, break or swerve to avoid Mr Maker, who had been drunk at the time of the incident and recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.295 per cent.
Justice Jenkins said she accepted Taylor was remorseful, but it was immaterial that he had not intended to kill or even hurt the 29-year-old.
“Unfortunately, road trauma is still a significant cause of death and injury in our community,” Justice Jenkins said.
“When it is the result of dangerous activity, offenders must realise significant penalties will be imposed upon them.”
Taylor was sentenced to concurrent jail terms for offences of failing to stop, failing to report the incident and driving under suspension. His driver’s licence was also disqualified for seven years.
Outside court, Mr Maker’s family said they felt that justice had been done, but nothing would bring back their husband, son and brother.