Fatal crash widow's life destroyed: court

By Genevieve Gannon

A former nurse who left a cyclist fatally injured on a Victorian highway after hitting him with her car has faced the man's widow in court.

Janine Paul, 53, cried as she told the Victorian County Court she feels like she has died too in the wake of the death of her husband of 27 years, Julian Paul, 54.

"He was my world. I loved him more than anything," Mrs Paul said on Thursday.

The father of two's neck and back were broken when Stephanie Maher, 33, hit his bike with her car on November 26, 2013.

Maher, who failed to stop and help the engineer, told the jury in her Victorian County Court trial she didn't realise she had hit a person, and thought that a rock had flicked up and hit her car.

She faces up to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of culpable driving causing death, failing to stop and failing to render assistance.

Maher showed no emotion during Mrs Paul's emotional statement, in which she said she was now living in a nightmare she could not wake from.

"Every aspect of our lives has been destroyed," Mrs Paul said.

"I am alone and half of me is gone."

"I don't want to be without him. This is not the life I chose for him and our children."

The couple's daughters were too distraught to come to court, she said.

Judge David Parsons adjourned the matter so Maher can undergo further psychological assessment after the court heard she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

In 2008 Maher was ordered to undergo drug treatment after she was caught stealing drugs from Melbourne hospitals to feed her heroin addiction.

Paying tribute to her husband, Mrs Paul said more than 500 people attended the funeral for Mr Paul who was a happy and loving person, a world-renowned expert in his field and an enthusiastic gardener.

"Everything he did, he did with a smile," she said.

"He was my world. I loved him more than anything."

Maher will return to court in September.