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ABC News Australia
By Elizabeth Byrne
Updated Tue 4 Jun 2013, 5:48pm AEST
The husband of a woman killed in a hit and run accident outside the Canberra Hospital last year has told the ACT Supreme Court of his hatred towards the man responsible. Justin Monfries, 25, has has pleaded guilty to hitting and killing Linda Cox, 38, and seriously injuring Ashlee Bumpus, 26, at Woden.
Monfries pleaded guilty to three charges including culpable driving causing death, culpable driving causing grievous bodily harm and stealing a car. An earlier charge of unlawful killing has been dropped.
Monfries sat with a bowed head during a sentencing hearing today where Mrs Cox’s husband Jamie gave an emotional account of his life since the accident. “I have been living a private hell since she died,” he said. “He took away my future and my soul mate. “The hate I feel is enormous.”
The court heard Monfries had been shopping at Manuka with his girlfriend, when they became separated. The court heard he had had six cans of a premix alcohol in the hour before the offences and had taken drugs earlier that day, along with a double dose of his anti-depressant drugs.
Monfries went to a nearby shop where he stole a pair of scissors and then to a carpark where he stole a car. He drove to a petrol station where he filled up the car and drove off without paying. Soon after Monfries crashed into another car before driving off.
Witnesses called police who eventually spotted Monfries driving the damaged car. Officers turned on lights and sirens for a short period, long enough for Monfries to notice. He fled, running two red lights near the Canberra hospital, where he hit the victims.
Monfries continued on until he ran into the back of another car, before running away. Police caught him a short time later. The court also heard Monfries was travelling at 118km/h in a 60km/h zone and had a blood alcohol reading of 0.099.
The court heard three women, including the two victims, had waited at the lights before crossing. One of them spotted the car but it was too late. Mrs Cox died instantly.
Details were also given about how Ms Bumpus was thrown some distance, breaking several bones. In a victim impact statement Ms Bumpus said the car had just ploughed into them. Ms Bumpus told the court she suffered such excruciating pain after the accident and at one point she asked doctors to remove her leg. She says she has not been able to return to work full time.
She says she still has flashbacks and has feelings of impending doom and catastrophe, and her life has been irreversibly affected. “I am forever scarred on my mind and scarred on my body,” she said. A pre-sentence report to the court suggested Monfries suffers aspergers, epilepsy and a chromosomal disorder. The report also noted he had given an unreliable account, distancing himself from culpability.
His lawyers say that should be a mitigating factor. But the crown says he is such a danger to the community it works against leniency. The hearing is continuing.