Emmanuel Xiberras leaves court after being found not guilty of dangerous driving occasioning death of a 601year-old grandmother. Picture: Joel Carrett.
Emmanuel Xiberras leaves court after being found not guilty of dangerous driving occasioning death of a 601year-old grandmother. Picture: Joel Carrett.

Truckie acquitted of grandmother’s death

THE chicken delivery driver accused of running over a Sydney grandmother who later died has been found not guilty in the Sydney District Court on Friday.

After two days of deliberating, a jury acquitted Emmanuel Xiberras, 38, of dangerous driving occasioning death and failing to stop at Brookvale on Sydney's northern beaches in 2016.

Jo-Ann Thwaites died after she was hit by a truck crossing the road, and the struck by a second truck.

Emmanuel Xiberras was acquitted of causing Jo-Ann Thwaites death after saying he thought he’d run over a dog or a bag of rubbish. Picture: Joel Carrett.
Emmanuel Xiberras was acquitted of causing Jo-Ann Thwaites death after saying he thought he’d run over a dog or a bag of rubbish. Picture: Joel Carrett.

The 61-year-old was dragged for several metres and the clothes ripped from her body.

A witness told Xiberras' trial she saw two feet poking from beneath a truck, blood and realised it was a body.

In his police statement, Xiberras said he thought "maybe I ran over a dog" after feeling his truck thump over an object on Pittwater Road and "didn't think nothing of it".

Brookvale fatal crash victim Jo-Ann Thwaites, above with husband Anthony, died after a crash in 2016.
Brookvale fatal crash victim Jo-Ann Thwaites, above with husband Anthony, died after a crash in 2016.

The court heard that several people saw Xiberras removing or trying to remove what looked like clothing from underneath his refrigerated truck.

His defence barrister Richard Pontello argued that Ms Thwaites had tripped and fallen into his the chicken truck, in an unavoidable tragedy.

Xiberras’s barrister argued he thought he was disposing of rubbish after the accident. Picture: Network Ten.
Xiberras’s barrister argued he thought he was disposing of rubbish after the accident. Picture: Network Ten.

He said that when Xiberras looked under his vehicle, he saw what he thought were cloth rags.

"He had absolutely no idea that he had hit a person … and he had no reason to think that he had done so," Mr Pontello said.

"The only reason that he disposed of what turned out to be Ms Thwaites' clothing is that he thought he'd run over rubbish only."

A second truck driver, Ricky Percival, who struck Ms Thwaites body wept as he told the trial he could not avoid striking a black "bundle" in the road.

Mr Percival, who was facing no charges, said when he looked he saw "it was a leg" and stopped to call police.

Xiberras pleaded not guilty and maintained his innocence throughout.


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