Loss of mum in hit-and-run ‘hurts beyond belief’, court hears
A COURT has heard of the heartbreak resulting from a fatal hit-and-run in Nimbin.
Jimi Knight, 33, is today facing a sentencing hearing for the offences of dangerous driving occasioning death and grievous bodily harm.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to both charges, which relate to an April, 2019 incident in which he fatally struck 62-year-old Tonia Jansen and injured a 63-year-old man on Cecil St.
Lismore District Court has heard Knight was “travelling at a speed that was excessive”, above the 50km/h speed limit and up to 95km/h at the time of the incident.
The prosecution have not proceeded with formal charges relating to his speed, or the fact he fled the scene.
When he returned to the scene at one point, Knight found others were rendering assistance.
He was not forthcoming about his involvement in the incident; he fled the region and initially lied to police about his manner of driving.
Ms Jansen’s son, Ryan Squire, presented to the court a victim impact statement in which he spoke of the “overwhelming” affect of the loss.
He recalled how he and his mother were “very close” in his youth, “especially” when they travelled and lived together overseas.
He said when he left home they “remained close”.
“In the weeks before she was taken … we spent a lot of time together and were starting to reconnect as adults,” he said.
He said the knowledge his mother wouldn’t know younger members of the family hurt him “beyond belief”.
An affidavit from Knight was tendered to the court and his solicitor, Rod Behan, also called him to give evidence via video link from Nowra Correctional Centre.
“I just want to say how sorry I am to the whole family,” Knight said.
“I could say sorry a million times, it wouldn’t be enough.
“She was a good friend of mine too and I took that away from everybody.”
Judge Jeffery McLennan said he planned to take the victim impact statements into account.
From the evidence before, him, Judge McLennan described Ms Jansen as “an obviously vibrant, energetic, creative 62-year-old woman who had a lot left to give to her family and a lot left to give to the community of which she was a part”.
“Her family and the community have been deprived of all of that,” he said.
“That’s an incalculable loss.”
Judge McLennan is expected to hand down Knight’s sentence later this afternoon.