A former Irish international footballer presented an emotional victim impact statement after a Binnu farmer pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of a woman and grievous bodily harm to the sportsman.
Patrick Gibbs, 31, read his prepared statement at the District Court trial in Geraldton on Monday of Bjorn Andrew Wilson, 36.
Wilson has been sentenced to four years’ jail for dangerous driving on North West Coastal Hwy near Ajana on November 14 last year, causing the death of Mr Gibbs’ partner, Kelly Ann Meehan, 31, and grievous bodily harm to Mr Gibbs.
Mr Gibbs expressed his love for Ms Meehan and his sorrow that members of her family had blamed him for her death.
He said that was the worst part of his long recovery and three operations leaving him unable to pursue his sporting interests, which included having represented Ireland at the international cup of Australian Rules football in Melbourne in 2008, and wanting to be in the 2011 and 2014 Irish squads.
“Last year was definitely made worse by (Kelly’s) family not talking to me, when I was having to learn to walk and do all the basic functions again,” he said.
Prosecutor Michael Perrella said Wilson was driving home to his farm in Binnu from the Ajana tennis club at 2am on November 14 when his Toyota utility swerved into the passenger door of a Corolla sedan being driven by Mr Gibbs.
Ms Meehan died at the scene and Mr Gibbs received extensive injuries.
Wilson’s lawyer, Hylton Quail, said the tragedy occurred after his client had gone to the tennis club to relax on November 13 following 10 days harvesting when he worked between 6am and 10pm.
He played several sets of tennis then drank full-strength beer until leaving for home early the next morning.
As well as imposing the jail term, Judge Bruce Goetze fined Wilson $2000 for having a blood alcohol content at the time of 0.133.