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Driver jailed for fatal Melbourne hit-run

A driver who hit a mother-of-five and left her dead on the side of a Melbourne road has been jailed for his “despicable and cowardly” crime.

Thomas Street dragged 46-year-old South Sudanese community leader Abiol Atem Manyang’s body to a nature strip and fled the Ardeer scene in May 2019.

Street’s driving did not cause the crash, but he was jailed in Victoria’s County Court on Tuesday for two years for failing to stop and help.

Judge Peter Lauritsen labelled the 32-year-old’s actions “despicable and cowardly”.

One of Ms Manyang’s daughters told the court her mother was dumped liked she was “some worthless animal”.

The force of the crash meant Ms Manyang flew through the windscreen and into the car. She died instantly.

Street kept driving for another 220 metres before stopping, removing the body and leaving it on grass between the footpath and road.

Street then drove home, removed the number plates from his unregistered vehicle, hid it under a car cover and showered.

He told someone he lived with he thought he’d hit someone, and they convinced Street to turn himself in the next day.

He tested positive for cannabis but prosecutors did not say this played a part in the crash.

Street was on bail at the time, with a criminal history including for a string of driving offences.

Ms Manyang was born in what is now South Sudan but had to flee because of conflict.

She met her husband at a camp for displaced people and they later came to Australia. They had three daughters and two sons.

Ms Manyang’s husband told the court his wife’s death left him “culturally stranded” when it came to their daughters.

One of them is pregnant and cannot have her own mother at her side to help.

Ms Manyang was a much-loved Sunday school teacher, cultural educator and community leader.

About 5000 mourners attended her funeral.

Street pleaded guilty to failing to stop and render assistance

He cannot get a licence for five years and was also fined $750 for driving an unregistered car.

He has already served 92 days of his sentence and can be considered for release on parole after 15 months.

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