Driver ‘drank for eight hours’ before fatal crash

An unlicensed driver accused of being drunk when he killed a heavily pregnant woman in a crash had been criticised by his girlfriend for spending "80 per cent" of his time drinking and gambling.

The letter from New Zealander Richard Moananu's girlfriend was found in his car after the crash at Orchard Hills which killed 23-year-old Katherine Hoang, who was due to give birth to twin boys within weeks, and her 17-year-old relative.

Richard Moananu was refused bail as he faces charges over the road death of pregnant woman, Katherine Hoang.
Richard Moananu was refused bail as he faces charges over the road death of pregnant woman, Katherine Hoang.

Ms Hoang's husband Bronko was also seriously injured.

Moananu, 29, of Glenmore Park, today applied for bail to the Supreme Court, where the letter from his partner, which was found at the crime scene, was read: "I'm at the age where being settled is what I need, a normal family life. You like to drink and gamble and be with your friends 80 per cent of the time. I want you to think and ask yourself: what is important to you?"

"After getting that letter he drank all day," Justice Adams said today.

"He ignored it and now two people, two foetuses are all dead and there's another person in hospital."

Mr Hoang, 25, screamed out in agony when he woke up from a coma last month to discover his wife Katherine and expected sons are dead.

Moananu had allegedly been drinking for more than eight hours and smoked cannabis before he slammed into the car at more than 100km/h in September.

Supreme Court Justice Natalie Adams said Moananu is going to plead guilty to the "horrendous" collision but it's only a question of whether the father-of-four admits to manslaughter or aggravated driving occasioning death amongst a string of other charges.

Bronko Hoang lost his wife Katherine and their unborn twins in the Orchard Hills crash. Picture: Facebook
Bronko Hoang lost his wife Katherine and their unborn twins in the Orchard Hills crash. Picture: Facebook

Moananu nearly broke down in tears and several relatives cried in court as he described his mental health while appearing via video link in a wheelchair from Long Bay prison.

"I tend to keep things inside and not tell anyone," he said.

"I don't know how to cope with it. I don't know who to trust."

The judge said it was clear from a letter Moananu wrote to the court that he's remorseful but denied him bail as she was "very concerned" about him getting behind the wheel again if released.

The scene of the horrific crash in Orchard Hills. Picture: Gordon McComiskie
The scene of the horrific crash in Orchard Hills. Picture: Gordon McComiskie

CCTV footage of the high impact smash was played in court while Justice Adams said photos from the crime scene were "disturbing to say the least".

Moananu allegedly hit them head-on at more than 45km/h over the 60km/h limit on The Northern Rd at 7.40pm after drinking at the pub since 10.30am.

The 29-year-old's blood alcohol reading was 0.204 but he told the court he didn't have a problem with booze.

In 2012 Moananu was fined for refusing to undergo a roadside breath test and has also previously been convicted for driving unlicensed and speeding.

Statements from eye witnesses were tendered to court describing the moments before Moananu tragically veered onto the wrong side of the road at Orchard Hills.

Katherine Hoang, who was pregnant with twin boys, died following the Orchard Hills accident.
Katherine Hoang, who was pregnant with twin boys, died following the Orchard Hills accident.

Benjamin Bishop saw Moananu cutting off car, stalling his own vehicle, cutting across three lanes of traffic, nearly hitting a barrier and nearly mounting a footpath, the judge said.

Denika Luster said Moananu flew past her car and was weaving in and out of traffic before hitting the median strip while Sandra Williams had "expected it to be a lot worse", Justice Adams said.

Moananu sustained severe leg injuries in the accident and he said following knee surgery last week his mobility was shot while he also has to take strong painkillers.

His family offered up a $7000 bail surety but Justice Adams noted the Australian resident could be a flight risk considering he was mentally unwell with a significant jail term looming.



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