A CHILTERN man responsible for the death of Melbourne grandmother Gabby Pirpinias, 57, was yesterday sentenced to three years’ jail with a minimum term of 18 months.
Judge Michael Bourke told Owen Richard Allen, 29, in the County Court at Wodonga that he had committed a serious breach of the management of his vehicle.
But it was born from error rather than being deliberate, which therefore meant the culpability was not as high.
“However, the consequences have been severe. They have been tragic,” Judge Bourke said.
Allen drove his high-powered ute out of a side street on to Thomas Mitchell Drive in Wodonga on August 14, 2010.
That forced a four-wheel-drive being driven by David Greig into the wrong lane, straight into the path of a truck driven by Mrs Pirpinias.
The cabin of the truck was crushed, killing her instantly.
In June, Allen was found guilty by a jury in Wangaratta on charges of dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing serious injury, failing to stop after an accident and failing to render assistance after an accident.
Judge Bourke said the family of Mrs Pirpinias had lost a wife, mother and grandmother and suffered “a great, immense loss”.
There was a lot of hurt and anger and they provided tender, moving memories in victim impact statements.
Judge Bourke told her family members before they left court after the sentence was imposed: “I tried to sentence bearing in mind all the factors.”
“It would be wrong to think I do not recognise the tragedy of her death.”
Six members of her family were in court for the sentencing with oldest child, Barbara Hilsaca, speaking outside court.
“We are very satisfied that there is a term of incarceration,” she said.
“The length of the sentence will never ever replace mum or bring her back.
“We are satisfied that there has been some justice. Someone did the wrong thing.
“We needed to fight right to the very end and make sure that justice was served for her.
“Dad is struggling to this very day. Mum was the absolute love of his life.”
She commended the efforts of the investigating police officer Det-Sgt Rohan Courtis.
“You must not leave the scene of an accident when someone’s hurt or has been killed. You must stay and help,” Mrs Hilsaca said.
Judge Bourke disqualified Allen from driving for four years.
“The significant punishment for this man is he is going to be sent to jail for what he did,” he said.