A woman who rammed a cyclist in Queensland and drove away from the scene, leaving him to die, and later boasted to family and friends about what she had done, has been jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Brisbane Supreme Court heard that Joanne McAuley, who did not hold a driving licence, evaded justice for nearly a decade after killing 26 year old Shui Ki Chan, reports the Guardian.
The 49-year-old motorist may only serve less than five years in prison, however, since she will be eligible for parole in July 2026.
The judge presiding over the case said that McAuley had flown into a “sheer rage” after the victim, a restaurant worker who was on his way home after finishing his shift, flipped her his middle finger on the rural Warrego Highway at around 7.30pm on 23 August 2012.
McAuley took two separate exits from the highway as she tried to find Mr Chan, a Hong Kong national, and insisted she only meant to “scare” the cyclist, but instead crashed into him, claiming that she had lost control of her vehicle.
Mr Chan, who was catapulted onto a grass verge, sustained a fractured pelvis, but McAuley drove away from the scene.
His body was discovered the following morning, and while a post mortem could not identify the precise cause of death, shock, hypothermia and loss of blood were all cited as contributory factors.
Clayton Wallis, prosecuting, was highly critical of the police investigation into Mr Chan’s death, which had previously also been criticised at a coroner’s inquest.
He told the court: “Police were enlisted immediately, and right from the outset, the investigation was in my words ‘less fulsome’, or in the words of the coroner ‘inadequate’.”
He also said that in the decade since Mr Chan’s death, McAuley had boasted to friends, family members and others about what she had done, with her accounts “tailored to her audience” and becoming increasingly elaborate as time passed by.
She was claimed to have said that she reversed over the victim “more than once,” and that she had run him over because he was Asian, with Mr Wallis saying that McAuley “made racial slurs and remarks about the man she had struck.”
He added: “The defendant’s conduct is reprehensible. She engaged in protracted and deliberate road rage. She had time for her anger to cool ... she was not affected by alcohol, drugs or mental illness. It was deliberated, calculated anger.”
McAuley had been charged with murder in June this year but pleaded guilty today to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Sentencing her, Justice David Boddice said: “Because of sheer rage and nothing else you caused the death of a 26-year-old male who was simply riding a bicycle home from work.
“You deliberately drove your vehicle, which you were incapable of controlling, so close to the deceased that it was inherently likely that he would be struck.
“Your behaviour on the night evidenced a complete disregard for human life. Your behaviour in the days following and in the ensuing years showed your complete lack of remorse,” he added.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.