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WA man jailed over toddler’s hit-run death

After killing a toddler in a high-speed hit and run in suburban Perth last year, Devlin Bartholomew drove to his girlfriend’s house, had dinner with her family and watched Netflix.

It was only later that night, when media reports of the crash prompted questions from his girlfriend about what caused the damage to his Holden Commodore, that the P-plater admitted in a Snapchat message he thought he hit a boy.

Bartholomew, now aged 19, was jailed for six years on Tuesday after pleading guilty to manslaughter, failing to stop after an incident and failing to report it to police.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia heard Bartholomew had been travelling at more than 130km/h in a 50km/h zone when he struck three-year-old Gareth Tetteh as the boy played on his scooter outside his Aveley home last November.

Gareth’s sisters, aged eight and 10, witnessed the horrific incident.

Bartholomew failed to stop and assist the boy and instead headed to his girlfriend’s house, having briefly stopped to inspect the damage to his car.

When he was arrested later that night after confessing to his girlfriend and her parents, Bartholomew told detectives: “I didn’t think I was going that fast.”

Gareth was described on Tuesday as a smart and cheeky boy who loved basketball and chocolate.

His mother Vera Tetteh addressed the court in a victim impact statement, saying the family had “lost life’s most precious gift”.

“The sunshine of our lives is gone. His photographs are all we have left,” she said.

The youngest of four children, Gareth’s parents had joked that he would one day be an NBA player or Formula One driver.

His father Bosco Tetteh showed the court a pair of basketball shoes they had planned to give Gareth for his fourth birthday.

The court heard Bartholomew, then aged 18, had no prior criminal record and had not been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

His lawyer Tom Percy said the teenager had been unable to explain his excessive speed other than to cite the “novelty of his new car”.

In a police interview, Bartholomew estimated he had been travelling at 60km/h, a claim Justice Joseph McGrath labelled “fanciful”.

“You killed a three year old boy because you decided to drive the vehicle in the manner in which you did … to satisfy your own personal wishes,” the judge said.

Justice McGrath sentenced Bartholomew to six years and four months in prison and disqualified him from driving for five years upon release.

He will be eligible for parole after four years and four months.

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