Michael Henderson was jailed on Wednesday after admitting causing the deaths of three teenagers in a crash last year.
Michael Henderson was jailed on Wednesday after admitting causing the deaths of three teenagers in a crash last year.

Has justice been served?

THE families of three Ipswich teenagers killed in a horrific crash sat in shock yesterday as they were told the man who killed their loved ones could be free in just 30 months.

Michael Daniel Henderson, 34, was sentenced to seven and a half years prison after he admitted a charge of causing death by dangerous driving yesterday.

But he will become eligible for parole in February 2015 and could walk free having served just 10 months for each life he took.

> > Read here about possible appeal on Henderson case

Friends and relatives of the dead teenagers - Brittany Bramwell, 17, Matthew Prior, 18, and Nicholas Saxby, 16 - wept outside Ipswich District Court after the sentence was handed down.

The court was told that at the time of the crash on April 8 last year Henderson had been serving a driving ban for speeding.

He had also been drinking, was driving well above the speed limit and had run through two sets of red lights.

It was at the second set of lights in Layard St, Goodna, that he struck the car carrying the teenagers.

But instead of stopping to help his victims Henderson fled on foot.

Brittany and Matthew died at the scene and Nicholas died later in the Princess Alexandra hospital.

The driver, Alex Mayfield, 17, Brittany's boyfriend, received life-threatening injuries.

Henderson had been at his aunt's Bertha St house, drinking and watching the football, when he became involved in a vicious fight with another man.

The man tried to drive away from the house and Henderson got into his Toyota Hilux, equipped with a hefty bull bar, and rammed the man's car twice.

The man drove away and Henderson gave chase at high speed, swerving all over the road and running two sets of red lights, before ploughing into the left side passenger door of the teens' car.

Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco said Henderson had shown a callous disregard for the lives of other road users.

"He deliberately drove to instil fear and use his car as a weapon," Ms Marco said.

"He would have realised he'd collided with another car and the occupants may be injured but acted in sheer self-preservation by leaving the scene."

Ms Marco said the effects of the crash had a devastating impact on the families and friends of the teens.

"Their pain, sorrow and grief is insurmountable - the dreams they carried for their children have been lost," she said.

Brittany's father said he still woke up at 2.34am every day - the exact time police knocked on his door to tell him he'd lost his daughter.

A victim impact statement from one mother said she suffered unbearable agony she will live with for the rest of her life.

Alex Mayfield said he still lived with guilt every day as he had been driving the car but survived.

Henderson pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and grievous bodily harm, and failing to remain at the scene.

He was sentenced to seven and a half years prison, but given his plea of guilty he only has to serve one third of that.

He will be eligible to apply for parole on February 15, 2015.

Defence barrister Steve Kissick said Henderson's actions hadn't been entirely callous, as when he left the scene there were already other people helping the dying teens.

Mr Kissick said Henderson, a father of three, was saddened and highly remorseful for his actions.


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