A man has walked free from court with a suspended jail sentence for running over and killing his best mate’s son.
“This is a tragic case,” District Court judge Chris Hoy, SC, said when he began sentencing Anthony Craig Cromb in Albury on Friday afternoon.
“In short, he drove in a manner that resulted in the death of Troy Wetmore.”
Judge Hoy said it was clear the death happened as the result of a momentary lapse in Cromb’s driving in that he failed to determine Mr Wetmore’s exact location.
Cromb, 55, of St James, showed no reaction when he was sentenced to two years’ jail wholly suspended on the condition he enter a good behaviour bond.
Judge Hoy pointed to the devastating impact Mr Wetmore’s death had on his family and that he was “no doubt a valued and loved young man”.
Cromb was to have faced a second manslaughter trial this week over the death of Mr Wetmore, 35, on the property owned by his father, the now late George Wetmore, just outside Holbrook on April 8, 2014.
The first trial, 12 months ago, ended with the jury unable to reach a majority verdict.
The Crown withdrew that charge on Monday and replaced it with a single count of drive in a manner dangerous occasioning death, to which Cromb pleaded guilty.
Judge Hoy said this carried a maximum penalty of 10 years’ jail.
But he accepted the defence submission that Cromb’s moral culpability for Mr Wetmore’s death was at the lower end of the scale.
He also accepted that full-time custody as submitted by the defence and the Crown was not warranted.
Cromb had been boarding each Monday to Friday in a caravan on the property Carabobala Lodge.
He was irate when he realised Mr Wetmore had taken his ute to get a bottle of bourbon in Holbrook.
The intoxicated Mr Wetmore stopped the ute in the driveway. Cromb leaned in and punched the victim before dragging him out and throwing him to the ground. Cromb then drove off, going over the victim’s head.
Cromb was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.