Man sentenced to jail and deportation after boating accident killed stepdaughter
A man who was drunk and driving too fast when he caused the ‘senseless, needless and brutal death’ of his stepdaughter in a boating accident on the Brisbane River will be deported after serving a prison sentence.
- The 21-year-old hit her head on the boat before being thrown onto a mud bank
- The man had consumed an “unknown amount of beer”, the court heard
- He was driving the boat more than 10 knots over the speed limit
Nicole Herbert was traveling in a boat with her partner and father when it collided with a private jetty in Chelmer in November 2020.
The 21-year-old died after hitting her head on the boat before being thrown onto a mud bank.
In district court on Monday, Jamie Harwood, 48, pleaded guilty to multiple offenses, including dangerous operation of a motorboat causing death while under the influence.
At a sentencing hearing in Brisbane, the court heard Harwood, who did not have a marine licence, was at the helm of the boat at the time of the accident and was traveling at more than 10 knots above of the speed limit.
The court also heard he had consumed an ‘unknown amount of beer’ while driving the boat and after the crash refused to provide a blood alcohol sample, telling hospital staff “that he couldn’t make needles”.
In a moving victim impact statement, Rodger Herbert described his daughter as a “truly beautiful, caring soul” and said her death had caused his family “tremendous grief”.
“The pain is relentless,” he said.
“I don’t know how to convey the heartbreaking feeling of seeing your child in a dead coffin, bereft of life and the feeling of intense grief.”
Mr Herbert said his daughter had suffered a ‘senseless, needless and brutal death’ by a ‘reckless act of stupidity’.
“A death she absolutely did not deserve,” he said.
The court heard Harwood had a long history of traffic, including multiple instances of speeding, driving without a license and driving while intoxicated, and had previously been caught over the legal limit three times. blood alcohol level.
His lawyer, Carmen Demarco, told the court that her client had expressed “deep sadness for his actions” and was remorseful.
“This is a tragic accident that irreparably destroyed the lives of so many people,” he said.
“The defendant understands and of course accepts the seriousness of his offence.”
Judge Katherine McGinness sentenced Harwood to six years in prison, but acknowledged that no sentence would lessen the “grief and suffering” his family would continue to endure.
“No sentence that I impose can in any way improve the loss,” she said.
Harwood, who is a New Zealand citizen, will be eligible for parole in December 2023, but will be deported upon release under the country’s migration laws.
Outside court, Mr Herbert told reporters he was too upset to talk about the sentence, but in a written statement he said he was ‘pleased that part of the process was complete’.
“She was honestly an innocent victim,” the statement said.
Mr Herbert thanked the first responders and said he will “always remain grateful” especially to the owners of the pier.
“Who took the time to talk to us and went out of their way to help you, I’m sorry this had to happen to you. »