KYRALEE Clark’s family sobbed and comforted each other as a man heard yesterday he faced up to a decade behind bars for the horrendous driving that killed the Lavington teenager.
Judge Michael Bourke told the County Court in Wodonga how Nilsson Keith Smyth’s driving leading to the crash was about the worst he had come across.
Judge Bourke referred several times to the distressing scene of Smyth’s passengers, Kyralee, 17, and her aunt, Jessica Kidd, pleading for their lives.
RELATED: Boozed-up driver just didn't listen
Kyralee was killed instantly in the crash.
Smyth — who wasn’t wearing a seat belt — was found seriously injured inside the roof cavity of the upturned car.
Miss Kidd suffered minor injuries.
An intoxicated Smyth, now 24, of Benalla, drove at up to 180km/h as he led police on a chase that began in North Albury on December 4, 2011.
Smyth’s actions did not end until he lost control of Ms Kidd’s Holden Astra on a left-hand bend of the Murray Valley Highway at Bandiana just after 12.30am.
“It’s a harrowing narrative before you even get to the tragic moment,” Judge Bourke said.
“I don’t think I have seen worse of its type.”
Smyth will be sentenced next Tuesday.
Prosecutor Andy Moore said the Crown was calling for Smyth to serve between eight to 10 years on the charge of culpable driving causing death, a count that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.
Mr Moore said the prosecution wanted Smyth to serve a non-parole period of between six to eight years.
The prosecution also called for the sentence on the second charge of reckless conduct endangering life to be at least partly cumulative.
Smyth pleaded guilty to these charges, as well as to failing to stop a car at the request of police, unlicensed driving and exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol.
He had a blood alcohol content of between 0.162 per cent and 0.178 per cent when he should have had no alcohol in his system.
Judge Bourke said the two victims in the car — Kyralee and Miss Kidd — were in an state of absolute terror as Smyth ignored their pleas to stop.
“This is a difficult case and will require some consideration by me,” he said.
“A signficant period of imprisonment is inevitable.”
Defence barrister Scott Johns said he was in no way questioning the horrendous nature of Smyth’s offending and accepted he faced a long time behind bars.
Mr Johns said mitigating circumstances in Smyth’s case were his guilty plea, his genuine remorse, his efforts at rehabilitation and a brain injury that would make time in jail more difficult to handle.
Judge Bourke said it was accepted that while the brain injury was a direct result of Smyth’s driving, that did not mean it should not be taken into consideration when sentenced.
But he indicated he was looking at a jail sentence at the higher end, rather than the lower end as he said was suggested by Mr Johns.
Judge Bourke remanded Smyth in custody for sentence next Tuesday.
Smyth cried throughout the hearing as he sat in the dock at the back of the court.
As people began to leave the gallery, Judge Bourke thanked them for the way they “have conducted themselves”.
“I’m grateful to you,” he said.