THE 18-year-old driver of a car which crashed at Caloundra after a street race, killing his friend, has walked out of court after receiving a suspended jail sentence.
Jameson Mark Routledge was sentenced to periods of two-and-a-half years jail and six months, to be served concurrently and suspended immediately, after pleading guilty in the Maroochydore District Court to two charges relating to the crash which killed Hope Dell.
Miss Dell, 17, was the front seat passenger in a car being driven by Mr Routledge which lost control and slammed into a tree on Caloundra Rd on December 11, 2014.
The court was shown CCTV footage of Routledge's car and a car being driven by another teenager, Luke Evan Chesher, racing along Caloundra Rd at 110km/h before the crash.
The court heard Chesher had slowed but there was no way of knowing the exact speed Routledge's car was travelling when it lost control, although it was calculated to be at least 70km/h.
Miss Dell, is believed to have died instantly, a back seat passenger suffered minor injuries, and Routledge had serious injuries, including a fractured skull, which left him with no memory of the crash.
Members of both families packed the public gallery and shed tears as the court was shown photographs of the wreckage.
Miss Dell's mother, Faye Read, read a statement to the court about the loss of "a beautiful, fun loving, spirited young lady" and her hope that her death would not be in vain.
"That night, my world changed beyond repair," she said.
"There is not one day that I function normally. I think about her constantly."
Crown prosecutor David Jones read a statement on behalf of Miss Hope's twin sister, Jade, in which she lamented not being able to celebrate her 18th birthday with her sister.
"I stood to cut my birthday cake on my own for the first time," she said.
Judge Fleur Kingham, in sentencing Routledge for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle by illegal street racing, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, said she could not be comfortable he was deliberately driving in a dangerous manner at the point that he lost control of the vehicle.
Judge Kingham took into account Routledge's age in ordering the sentences be wholly suspended immediately, without him having to serve time behind bars.
But she said what he had to live with would outweigh any sentence she could impose.
"I expect that living with the consequence of your decision will be the most serious punishment you can endure," she said.
The judge also commended the behaviour of members of both Miss Dell's and Routledge's families during the proceedings as they sat in the back of the court room, some of them side by side.
"There are members of both families present.... and I applaud the restraint and dignity that you have shown as you have had to listen to some very disturbing circumstances of the collision," she said.
Judge Kingham said the circumstances were among the most difficult a judge could dealt with "involving the loss of life in circumstances that are not intended."
She said the sentence meted out to Routledge was not intended as a measure of Miss Dell's life but she hoped they took comfort from his admission of guilt and remorse.
Faye Read's statement to the court about the loss of her daughter, Hope:
To try and articulate into words the impact that Hope's death has had on my life is overwhelming. The emotional and physical impact has let me to live a life I don't recognise any more.
I just feel so broken.
My beautiful daughters have always been everything.
Hope made up half the joy my heart held dear. She had a genuine love and honesty in the way she approached life. She laughed easily and nothing gave her more joy than hearing others laugh with her. She had a beautiful sense of freedom - owning every second that this life gave her.
She was a beautiful, fun loving, spirited young lady.
On the night of the night of 11th December 2014 - all that joy - that beauty - that spirit was taken away.
That night my world changed beyond repair.
Hope's death has left me feeling vulnerable. There is not one day that I function normally. I think about her constantly.
I live with the sadness in my heart that she will never live to realise any of her dreams. I'll never get to see her beautiful smile or hear her beautiful laugh in any of her own children.
The simple things that I used to enjoy in life have been taken away from me. I've struggled to retain my own identity - to feel the complete joy of life and how to find the strength to carry on without Hope.
I fear I will never feel whole again. I was Hope's mum for 17 years and she was taken from me so suddenly for me to prepare for - and now I live a life of sadness and yearning.
What was taken from me on the 11th of December was too much. Hope was my best friend, my daughter, my world. She was my future and part of the beautiful possibilities that life my life held.
I miss being able to laugh with her - seeing her beautiful smile and feeling her love. She was and always will be my beautiful girl.
I hope with all my heart that Hope's death has not been in vain.
That my beautiful girl's death has an affect on the thinking and actions of others - that lives can be saved by learning of Hope's life.
We have all been given a very beautiful and precious gift knowing Hope.
With the love of my beautiful girl in my heart - thank you for listening."
Jade Dell's statement to the court about her grief for her sister, Hope:
"On the 11th December 2014, my twin sister, Hope, the person who had been beside me for 17 years, life ended. Finished. To be woken up by the police saying Hope is gone. We just wanted to see her, be with her. To see her behind the glass windows at the morgue lying with her (hair) matted by blood was heartbreaking.
The next time I saw her at the crematorium she had her dress on we wore to graduation two weeks before. I stroked her hair and held her hand. She looked beautiful but not the same. She had perfume on. I still remember the smell.
I had to go back to work very shortly after the accident due to the time of year, Christmas. Three weeks after the accident, Jameson and his mother stood in front of me and expected to be served. She had no idea who I was and it crushed me to think he could be standing there in front of me and my sister was gone. His life carried on the same."
We both had so many firsts to look forward to, so much we had talked about together. Boyfriends, marriage, kids, birthdays, Christmas, uni and jobs.
Life has had no sense of fun without her. A huge gap in my life that I don't know how to fill.
My first birthday without Hope was our 18th birthday, something we were so excited about celebrating together. We would be able to go to nightclubs together and dance. I stood to cut my birthday cake on my own for the first time.
I started a uni course because that is what Hope and I talked about. But my heart was not in it and couldn't continue.
Learning to drive with Hope was always a fun time. Mum took is together and we would take turns of driving. Knowing that she was killed in a car crash made it even harder to continue to learn to drive.
I have to keep going without her by my side. My life will move forward without her getting to experience all the things we should have done together.
Knowing that her death was due to something she had no control over but trusted the people she was with has made it the hardest thing to accept.
I miss her with my whole heart every day, every minute."
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