The family of a beloved Sydney father killed in a horrific crash on Sydney’s northern beaches has called for the Queensland driver who caused it to not be released from jail next month.
Father-of-four Matthew Butcher was killed when a furniture removal truck driven by Adam Moule turned in front of him at Palm Beach last year.
The court heard on Thursday that at the time of the incident, Moule had traces of cannabis in his system and admitted to smoking the drug 36 hours prior to the crash.
Appearing via videolink from prison, Moule sobbed throughout a sentence hearing at Sydney’s Central Local Court on Thursday.
Mr Butcher’s family, including his wife and four children, sat in the back of the court.
They wore T-shirts emblazoned with his face and the words: “Beloved husband, son, father, brother & best friend”.
Moule, from Annerley in Brisbane, will learn his fate next month when he will be sentenced by Magistrate Gareth Christofi after pleading guilty to a string of offences including negligent driving occasioning death, possessing a prohibited drug and driving a vehicle with illicit drugs present in blood.
The most serious of the charges – negligent driving occasioning death – carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail.
With time served, he could be released from prison when he is sentenced next month – an outcome which Mr Butcher’s wife Michelle said would be a blow to the family.
“I’d be very, very disappointed, he took a life … It’s a life sentence for us,” Ms Butcher said outside court.
Mr Butcher’s motorbike crashed into the side of Moule’s van at a T-intersection on Barrenjoey Road about 9am on April 11 last year.
According to court documents, Moule was travelling northbound when he turned in front of Mr Butcher’s motorcycle.
It caused Mr Butcher, who was travelling southbound in front of his two mates in a convoy, to slam on his brakes and slide under the rear side of Moule’s truck.
Mr Butcher was pronounced dead at the scene.
His mates estimated that Moule’s truck was 20 metres in front of Mr Butcher when he pulled out and had failed to stop completely before turning in front of them.
Solicitor Mina Wassef said his client had expressed remorse for the accident.
“It was a momentary lapse in judgment … An unacceptable failure,” Mr Wassef said.
Moule will be sentenced on May 19.