Sentence today for kill driver

THE speeding driver who claimed the lives of Hannah Bush and her grandmother Norma Skinner will be sentenced today.

Man To Cheng, 23, from Hong Kong, has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing their deaths when he faced the County Court sitting in Mildura this week.

On the second day of his plea hearing yesterday, defence barrister Sam Norton told the court Cheng had genuine and sincere remorse for his role in Hannah and Mrs Skinner’s deaths.

The court had previously heard Cheng was driving more than 120km/h in an 80km/h zone in Fifteenth Street when he crashed into the car being driven by Mrs Skinner, who was attempting to cross from Irymple Avenue.

Cheng was granted bail after the offence, but in June he asked a magistrate to revoke it and has been in custody since. 

The court heard Cheng came from a hard-working and loving but relatively poor family with whom he lived in public housing in Hong Kong.

Mr Norton said Cheng, who worked as a labourer in Hong Kong, saved to come to Australia on a one-year working holiday visa to broaden his horizons.

Mr Cheng was planning on having an adventure, like many young travellers before him, but it culminated in tragedy, the court heard.

“He’s a decent, hard-working­ young man,” Mr Norton said.

Mr Cheng’s father and sister made the trip from Hong Kong to support him in court.

Judge Mark Gamble said his sentence must act as a deterrent for other drivers, especially young men, on the roads. 

“The sad reality of this type of case (is) you have to send young men with no criminal history to jail,” he said.

Prosecutor David O’Doherty said it was a serious example of the offence, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ prison.

The court had previously heard more than 30 victim impact statements read to the court from Hannah and Mrs Skinner’s family and friends, as well as a letter of apology written by Mr Cheng.

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