WE STILL HAVE A LIFE SEN­TENCE

HEATH­COTE MUM TELLS OF PAIN AF­TER MAN WHO KILLED HER DAUGH­TER GETS THREE-AND-A-HALF YEARS JAIL

McIvor Times - - FRONT PAGE - By IVY WISE

A HEATH­COTE fam­ily is still serv­ing a life sen­tence de­spite the jail­ing of the man who killed their teenage daugh­ter and sis­ter in a hor­rific crash two years ago.

An­drew Con­nolly, 24, was sen­tenced in Bowen Dis­trict Court on Septem­ber 4 to three-and-a-half years’ prison, suspended af­ter serv­ing 14 months over the death of Ge­or­gia Ed­sall-French.

The North Queens­land man pleaded guilty to dan­ger­ous oper­a­tion of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle caus­ing death and griev­ous bod­ily harm, which re­lated to the hor­rific in­juries suf­fered by Ge­or­gia’s sis­ter Matilda.

Ge­or­gia, 15, was killed when the car she was travelling in with her mother, Kym Ed­sall, and two of her lit­tle sis­ters, Lily and Matilda, col­lided head-on with a ute on the Bruce High­way, 10km south of Bowen on Queens­land’s mid-north coast, on July 24, 2015.

The fam­ily had taken a road trip up north and was re­turn­ing from the su­per­mar­ket when the crash oc­curred.

Ge­or­gia was killed in­stantly from the im­pact.

Matilda, then 8, suf­fered mul­ti­ple frac­tures in her legs, which re­quired 18 op­er­a­tions to treat, Ms Ed­sall sus­tained in­juries to her brak­ing foot, while Lily es­caped rel­a­tively un­scathed.

Ge­or­gia’s dad, Terry French, and her other two older sis­ters, Tayla and Grace, were in Vic­to­ria when they re­ceived the dis­tress­ing news.

Putting up a united front, the Heath­cote fam­ily at­tended court in Bowen for the sen­tence, which Kym said would never be enough to ease their pain.

‘‘Re­gard­less of the out­come, there are no win­ners. We still have a life sen­tence,’’ she said.

‘‘It was a re­lief to fi­nally face this guy. But he did not seem re­morse­ful and didn’t say any­thing in court.

‘‘Be­cause he pleaded guilty, ev­i­dence wasn’t pro­duced but we did hear that he had only had nine hours’ sleep in the week lead­ing up to the crash, so it was likely he had fallen asleep.

‘‘I can’t say I would have wanted more (time) as jail doesn’t fix any­thing.’’

Ms Ed­sall said go­ing from a fam­ily of seven to six had been dev­as­tat­ing.

And if any­thing was go­ing to be achieved through this, it was to bring about road safety aware­ness.

‘‘A split sec­ond of inattention can change your life,’’ she said.

Ge­or­gia Ed­sall-French, 15, died in­stantly when the car in which she was a pas­sen­ger was hit by a ute in July 2015.

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