Brain-damaged youth sentenced for attack on pregnant mother in Karawara

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The 17-year-old who threw a piece of concrete at a pregnant mother at a car park in Perth’s south, resulting in her death, has been sentenced to five years behind bars.

Diane Miller was 20 weeks pregnant when she was killed on November 29. She had been out to get dinner with her partner Phillip Edmonds, their baby son Lloyde and her three nieces, when the family was caught up in a violent brawl at Waterford Plaza in Karawara.

Diane Miller, 30, died in November last year after an unprovoked attack in Kewdale.

The youth guilty of the manslaughter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced in Perth District Court on Friday, after details of the attack were revealed on Thursday afternoon.

He was one of a group of teenagers, aged between 16 and 19, who threw something at the family’s car, resulting in a “short verbal exchange through the window.”

CCTV footage then shows the group grabbing weapons including glass bottles and stools. The fight soon abated, and the group began to disperse, but the 17-year-old was across the road.

He later told police he thought someone had told him to go and grab “a rock or a brick.”

He did not realise the others had stopped and found a “lump of concrete” weighing almost 2 kilograms, hid behind a wall and threw it at Miller, who was sat in the passenger seat of the car as the family began to drive away, hitting her on the head.

She suffered a catastrophic brain injury and died three days later. Her unborn baby, Leroy, also died.

Judge Hylton Quail said the fight was “a case of too much testosterone on each side,” and described Miller’s passing as a triple tragedy.

“Ms Miller was a completely innocent and blameless victim,” he said.

“You took her life, you deprived Lloyde of a mother, and you deprived a baby of being born … you will have to live with the consequences.”

Miller’s mother submitted a victim impact statement, some of which was read out in court.

“[She] was my pride and joy, heart and soul till she was taken away from me,” the statement read.

“I have never been the same, I have lost all happiness … My mental health has deteriorated significantly … I do not go out of my house anymore … the offender took my life away.”

Judge Quail said the young boy had been born with brain damage, which significantly affected how he acted and behaved, and that he had shown genuine remorse.

“You were impulsive and disinhibited. You did not think about the consequences of what you were doing,” he said.

“You admitted responsibility for your actions immediately … [and said] if you could swap your life for Ms Millers you would.”

Quail also raised concerns about the conditions in Banksia Hill, Perth’s detention centre for children and youths, and said he had been locked in his cell for more than 20 hours per day for almost a third of his time in custody.

From April 15-23, the boy was kept in his cell for longer than 19 hours every day.

He sentenced the teenager to five years behind bars, backdated to when he was first placed in custody. He will be eligible for supervised release after 26 months.

With Rebecca Peppiatt

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