Wangaratta man pleads guilty to killer crash

A WANGARATTA man will be sentenced next week over a crash that killed Whorouly man Chris Power.

Kenneth “Kenny” Ritchens yesterday pleaded guilty in the County Court at Shepparton to charges involving the crash that happened four years ago.

Mr Power’s body, thrown from Ritchens’ car, was found by an Oxley Flats Road resident hours after neighbours heard what they thought was logs falling off a truck.

Ritchens was ordered to stand trial after a three-day committal hearing in Wangaratta Court in February.

That three-day hearing heard testimony from witnesses that Ritchens had confessed to killing someone when he crashed his car early on June 21, 2008.

Judge Lance Pilgrim yesterday adjourned the case to Shepparton next Monday.

Ritchens, 31, will be sentenced at 2pm.

The Wangaratta hearing heard testimony from a policeman who visited Ritchens on the morning of the crash.

Ritchens told the policeman his car, a black Ford Fairmont sedan, had been locked before it was stolen from Merriwa Park in Wangaratta.

But he also said he did not know where his car keys were.

He had blood on his face and a swollen eye and appeared to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Ritchens faced the committal on charges of dangerous driving causing death, culpable driving and attempting to obtain property by deception of an insurance company.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges at that hearing.

The court heard Ritchens told the police officer, “I’ve been on eccies (ecstasy) all night”.

According to notes taken by another police officer later that day, three red scratch marks were seen on Ritchens’ lower back. He said he had got them plastering.

Mr Power, 40, was a stalwart of the Whorouly football club.

He was killed after the car in which he was travelling left the road and smashed into a tree, about 7 kilometres from Wangaratta.

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