Tragic loss of father on a ride
THERE was nothing accidental about the death of cyclist and father Stephen Small.
His former partner Yolanda Brady believes he was run down in a cold-blooded hour of terror at Doonan last March 14.
Nathan Craig MacDonald pleaded guilty this week to dangerous driving causing Mr Small’s death, admitting to being intoxicated at the time and leaving the scene before police arrived.
Having attended every hearing leading up to Monday, Ms Brady was in shock at MacDonald’s early plea at Maroochydore District Court after a year-long wait.
MacDonald appeared in court via videolink from prison.
He sat quietly behind a table, hands in his lap, shoulders slumped as he pleaded guilty to the charges.
Noosaville man Rod Wilcox was targeted by MacDonald and the vehicle’s passenger, Corey Michael Sinclair, just before Mr Small was run down.
Sinclair pleaded guilty to common assault while adversely affected by a substance and was fined $450 and received 60 hours of community service.
MacDonald’s sentencing has been delayed until May so a psychologist’s report can be prepared.
Ms Brady had lobbied police and the prosecution to upgrade the charges to murder.
“Accidents happen, but there was nothing accidental about this,” Ms Brady said.
Tragedy struck Mr Small while he was on a training ride on his way home from work.
On the bike he was a natural. One of the truly talented.
Having lived in Noosa for more than a decade, he loved nothing more than to get out and ride – although work had taken precedence in recent years for the 42-year-old.
An electrician by trade, his Commerce Court shed was his base, but he lived on the rolling hills of Doonan.
Stephen loved the area, reminding him of the UK where he grew up.
Family and work commitments had reduced his riding time in recent years, and after being ribbed by his mates for “getting a bit chubby”, it was a return home to his father’s funeral in December 2015 that reignited his determination to race.
“Steve was always a passionate cyclist,” Ms Brady said.
“He had been using his cycling to travel to and from work to try and get in a bit of extra mileage and to alleviate stress on the road, it just made sense.
“To watch him on a bike, to even just see him manoeuvre amongst the group in a race, he was one of the best cyclists you had seen.
“He was very strong and could ride all day.”
One of Stephen’s close friends, Ian Cuthbertson, now lives at Noosa but had also grown up cycling and raced against him as a junior.
While still coming to terms with the loss of his close mate, he remembers a strong and quality athlete.
“He actually rode in An Post Rás, which is a tour of Ireland and one of the hardest amateur stage races you can do,” he said.
“He was a really handy cyclist. More of a domestique rider, super powerful, you could sit behind him dragging you along all day.
“Steve would just go and go all day long, but just didn’t have the sprint to bring home the wins. He quite enjoyed working for other people.”
Doonan's Stephen Small (pictured with his son Oscar) had lived in the Noosa area for more than a decade, but previously had an impressive cycling career in the UK.