Death driver cleared of murder
AYA Hishmeh will learn in April how long she will spend behind bars after being cleared of murder but found guilty of the manslaughter of teenager Jacob Cummins in Canning Vale more than two years ago.
The 23-year-old, who spent her third birthday in jail last week, was behind the wheel of a high-powered car when she ran down Jacob and four of his friends in an “act of vengeance” in December 2017.
Jacob was walking on a footpath on Eucalyptus Boulevard in Canning Vale in December 2017 when the “raging” Hishmeh ran him and his friends down in her speeding Nissan Skyline.
Hishmeh, an apprentice chef who told police after her arrest that she had “so much going” for her, was also cleared of trying to kill Jacob’s mates but was convicted of inflicting their serious injuries.
As Hishmeh nervously waited for the jury to return with its verdicts, she had tears in her eyes.
Her lawyer Anthony Elliott warned Justice Michael Corboy that Hishmeh was “not sure she is able to cope with the taking of the verdicts”.
“She might faint,” Mr Elliott said.
So she was allowed to remain seated and sighed a breath of relief after hearing the words “not guilty” to murder, but continued to cry when the rest of the verdicts were read.
During the trial, the jury was told the events of that
December 7 day started with a schoolyard fight over a girl and ended with carnage, the injured and their belongings strewn over the road.
After the initial fight, Hishmeh’s younger brother was punched in the face.
But the rival groups dispersed and went to the nearby Mcdonald’s to watch mobile phone footage of the melee.
In the meantime, Hishmeh, her two elder brothers and her younger sister had heard their little brother had been attacked. They arrived at the fast food restaurant, sparking more violence, with punches thrown and Hishmeh grabbing a boy in a headlock.
But it was when Hishmeh discovered her younger sister’s arm had been slashed in the chaos that her anger exploded.
Witnesses, including several police officers, testified they heard Hishmeh say she was going to “kill them... I’m going to kill every one of them”.
She got into her car, with her then-fiance in the passenger seat, and went looking for them.
Extremely confronting CCTV footage showed the car – travelling almost 80km/h in a 50km/h zone – hurling around a roundabout before ploughing into the group, one boy flying through the air and another becoming lodged in the windscreen.
It was shown to the jury repeatedly during the trial, including as Jacob’s mother, Aisling Earls, watched on from the public gallery.
Prosecutor Les Hobson said Hishmeh drove directly at the group of boys in an “act of vengeance at what she believed had been done to two of her siblings”.
But in her evidence, Hishmeh said she wanted to confront the boys, not kill them. She said it was an accident.
But now, the young woman who told police after her arrest that she had a “good life” and “so much going” for her, is a convicted killer and faces years behind bars.
Jacob’s mother, who was in court for the verdict, did not want to comment outside court.
Hishmeh was remanded in custody to be sentenced on April 17.
Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of life behind bars.