Samandeep Singh (file image)
Samandeep Singh (file image)

Truck driver jailed for killing Vic cop

The family of a Melbourne police officer killed when a truck driver decided to drive with faulty brakes say they're serving a life sentence of grief.

Samandeep Singh, 30, has been jailed for up to four years after hitting 45-year-old First Constable D'Arne De Leo as she rode her motorbike to work on January 12, 2017.

Singh's truck wasn't roadworthy and he knew the rear brakes weren't working. The front brakes were also compromised because the vehicle was loaded incorrectly.

He used his exhaust and emergency brakes in an attempt to stop but rolled down a hill and smashed into Const De Leo's bike at a Wantirna intersection.

The officer's partner of 13 years, Krisztina Toth, is relieved to finally see justice served more than three years later.

"At the end of the day we're all serving a lifetime sentence," Ms Toth said outside the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday.

"I'm really glad it's over and we've got justice for her."

Ms Toth said she wanted her partner to be remembered as a "kind, loving, beautiful person".

Singh must spend two years and four months behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Judge Michael Tinney said the truck driver could and should have stopped as soon as he realised his brakes were faulty.

"You knew you were driving a sizeable truck with a 13-tonne load. You knew the brakes were not working effectively," the judge said,

"You hoped to finish the job and then report the issues."

Singh received his heavy vehicle licence after a one-day training course. The company he worked for, Ermes Transport, had a shoddy maintenance record.

He initially denied knowing the brakes didn't work properly, but pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death after his planned trial was delayed repeatedly.

Singh's mental health has deteriorated significantly and he has tattooed reminders of Const De Leo, including her police number, all over his body.

He has post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, traits of a personality disorder and has tried to take his own life more than once

"This will sound strange to say in a case involving such a tragedy as this one does, but you ruminate on this tragedy probably too much for your own good," Judge Tinney said, referring to Singh's numerous tattoos.

"I have no doubt you're deeply sorry another person has died and by virtue of your criminal act."

Const De Leo's mother, Jan, had cancer and did not survive to see her daughter get justice.

"She so desperately wanted to be present as a voice for her daughter," Judge Tinney said.

The police officer's father, Patrick, earlier said he did not hate or want revenge on Singh.

"Nothing I can do, no sentence I can lawfully impose will do anything to restore the De Leo family unit," Judge Tinney said.

Singh has already spent 151 days in pre-sentence detention and is likely to be deported to India upon his release from jail.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

Originally published as Trick driver jailed for killing Vic cop


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