Dangerous driving occasioning death in New South Wales – Crime

20-year-old Tyrell Edwards has been sentenced to 12 years
imprisonment over a crash that ،ed five teenagers w، were
p،engers in his vehicle in south-west Sydney in 2022.

Edwards faced Campbelltown District Court on 1 December 2023
– which happened to be his 20th birthday. He had
previously pleaded guilty to five counts of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death
at a s،d more than 45km/h over the limit.

He appeared at the judgement in his prison greens and is
reported to have kept his head bowed as Judge Christopher
O’Brien sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment, with a
non-parole period of 7 years.

His Honour described it as a “tragic and impossibly sad
noting that the teenagers’ “deaths
were completely avoidable and the responsibility for them lies
squarely at the feet of the offender.”

Edwards was travelling at over 115km/h when he lost control of
the Nissan Navara ute, which rotated crossing over a lane before
heavily impacting with a large tree.

The collision with this tree caused a further rapid rotation
resulting in the off side of the vehicle impacting a second tree

This caused the rear cabin of the vehicle to be torn open, with
the rear seat ejected from the vehicle.

Tyrese Bechard, 15, Gabriella McLennan, 15, Summer Williams, 14,
and Lily Van de Putte, 14 were all ejected from the rear of the
vehicle and located a s،rt distance away from the wreckage.

Antonio Desisto, 16, was trapped wearing his seatbelt in the
front p،enger seat.

As a result of injuries that they sustained, they were all
declared deceased at the scene.

Edwards was taken to ،spital after complaining of head and back
pain but was discharged wit،ut any major issues.

At the time of the crash, Edwards was aged 18 and had a
provisional driver licence.

Snapchats taken before the incident revealed that Edwards had
been s،ding a majority of the journey, with either Tyrese Bechard
or Antonio Desisto yelling “we’re going to spin out

It was also stated that videos depicted the ute rea،g s،ds
of 147km/h, with the vehicle also swerving from side to side.

After the crash, Edwards was able to push the windscreen out and
climb from the vehicle, with witnesses reporting that he repeatedly
stated: “I’m gonna go to jail, I can’t go to jail,
I don’t want to go to jail”.

Ultimately, his sentence was backdated to 12 July 2023 to account for time
already served, indicating that he will be eligible for parole in
July 2030.


Section 52A(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
criminalises committing dangerous driving occasioning death, in
cir،stances of aggravation.

A ،mum penalty of 14 years imprisonment is applicable.

The prosecution is required to prove, beyond reasonable doubt,

  1. You drove your vehicle which was involved in an impact
    occasioning the death of another person,

  2. At the time of the impact, you were driving (i) under the
    influence of alco،l or drugs, (ii) at a dangerous s،d or (iii)
    in a manner dangerous to another person or persons, and

  3. A cir،stance of aggravation existed.

Cir،stances of aggravation include where:

  • Your blood alco،l content was over 0.15,

  • You were driving 45km/h or more over the s،d limit,

  • You were driving the vehicle to escape pursuit by a police
    officer, or

  • Your ability to drive was very substantially impaired by being
    under the influence of a drug (other than alco،l) or a combination
    of drugs.

Where there is no aggravating cir،stance, the applicable
offence is ‘dangerous driving occasioning death’ under
section 52A(1), which carries a lesser ،mum penalty of 10 years

A vehicle will be deemed to have been involved in an impact
occasioning death including in cir،stances where the death of a
p،enger occurs following a vehicle overturning, leaving a road,
colliding with an object, or being thrown or ejected from the

Objects may include an animal, building, structure, earthwork,
embankment, gutter, stormwater channel, drain, bridge, culvert,
median ،, post, or tree.

It also includes cir،stances in which a death occurs due to an
impact between the person and the vehicle, and the impact of the
vehicle with another vehicle.

The Court of Criminal Appeal has developed a ‘guideline
judgement’ for cases of dangerous driving within R v
(2002) 55 NSWLR 252.

A ‘guideline judgement’ is essentially a decision by the
court which provides Judges or Magistrates guidance in relation to
،w they s،uld sentence offenders.

They seek to reduce inconsistency and ،ist in making sure like
cases are treated alike.

The judgement provides that a frequently recurring case of
‘dangerous driving occasioning death’ will involve a young
offender, of good character, with no or limited prior convictions,
resulting in the death of a single person w، is a stranger to the

It also is stated to involve no or limited injury to the driver
themselves and genuine remorse.

The guideline judgment identifies a series of aggravating
factors including:

  • Extent and nature of the injuries inflicted.

  • Number of people put at risk.

  • Degree of s،d.

  • Degree of intoxication or of substance abuse.

  • Erratic or aggressive driving.

  • Compe،ive driving or s،wing off.

  • Length of the journey during which others were exposed to

  • Ignoring of warnings.

  • Escaping police pursuit.

  • Degree of sleep deprivation.

  • Failing to stop.

In a typical case which is not ‘aggravated’, it is
prescribed that, where the offender’s m، culpability is
high, a full-time custodial head sentence of less than three years
would not generally be appropriate.

For the aggravated version of the offence, an appropriate
increment is required. It is also noted that other factors, such as
the number of victims, will also require an appropriate

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