Widow’s message to ‘coward’ who killed her husband
Catherine Frewer locked eyes with the drug driver who killed her husband to call him a coward as he sobbed in his green prison uniform.
After failing to appear for his sentencing in February, John Joseph Taylor finally faced the woman he made a widow as she gathered the courage, for a second time, to read a statement to Maroochydore District Court.
Taylor, 44, was on Friday jailed for killing Cameron Frewer who was hit while cycling along Caloundra Rd on November 5, 2018.
The court heard Taylor had drifted so far across the fog line that he hit Mr Frewer with the driver's side of his car.
Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook said the father-of-three "didn't stand a chance" when he was hit by Taylor who had fallen asleep at the wheel with methamphetamine in his system.
Mr Frewer died at the scene.
"Mr Frewer's bicycle was broken into several pieces and wreckage was strewn all over the road," Mr Cook said.
Taylor wiped tears from his face as dashcam footage of the aftermath was shown in the courtroom.
He hit the cycle safety activist at 110km/h in a 100km/h zone.
The court heard he used methamphetamine, found in his system, to stay awake as he worked long hours but he was not under the influence of the drug at the time.
Taylor's licence had been disqualified or suspended on 13 prior occasions.
He was held in jail until Friday after failing to appear in court to be sentenced on February 10.
Mrs Frewer was devastated when Taylor didn't show, saying she had "worked herself up" to being in the same room as him and practised her statement "over and over".
"This showed me the true person he is- gutless and a coward," Mrs Frewer told the court on Friday before locking eyes with Taylor.
"I had to face him, could he not face me?"
Mrs Frewer met her husband when she was 13 and said he was her only love and "soulmate".
"My broken heart will never fully mend," she said.
"Whatever the outcome of today, it will never give my children the chance to enjoy the rest of their lives with their dad."
Taylor pleaded guilty to the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and driving with a drug in his system.
Defence barrister Mark Dixon said Judge Glen Cash shouldn't place too much weight on the fact Taylor was speeding and had drugs in his system.
"There is no expert evidence before you today to say what his readings would have or could have done," Mr Dixon said.
He said Taylor's remorse was evident from his behaviour at the scene.
"He was noted to be distraught and making statements such as 'How am I going to live with myself?'," Mr Dixon said.
He tendered a medical report which said Taylor had depression and anxiety as a result of killing Mr Frewer.
Mr Dixon said his client's mental state contributed to him failing to appear in court.
Mr Cash said Taylor's guilty plea and remorse was minimised when he failed to appear for his sentence date.
He considered his traffic history and said he had to impose a just sentence that would deter, denounce, promote rehabilitation, and protect the community.
"For 26 years he has driven, fairly regularly, in a manner which has disregarded the safety of other users on the road," Mr Cash said.
Taylor was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail with parole eligibility after serving 18 months.
He could be released as early as August 21 next year.
Taylor's licence was also disqualified for three years.
Outside court, Mrs Frewer said she hoped her words and the image of her family would stay with Taylor as he went to jail.
"I said what I had to say and he has to live with it for the rest of his life now," she said.
Mrs Frewer said she could finally move on with her family after waiting so long for the sentence.