Death driver cleared of mur­der

Canning Gazette - - NEWS - Shan­non Hamp­ton

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.

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