The father of a cyclist killed while on a training ride in Sedgwick has spoken of his pain in knowing his son will never come home.
Graeme Lowndes was one of several family members to read victim impact statements during a plea hearing for the woman charged with dangerous driving causing the death of his son, Jason.
Jason Lowndes was killed in December, 2017 after he was struck by a car while riding along Sedgwick Road, Mandurang. Mr Lowndes, 23, was an experienced cyclist who had ridden at an international level.
Billie Rodda, 22, has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing his death, and using a hand-held device while driving.
Graeme, Jason's mother Trudie, sister Rebecca and partner Kelly Younger read victim impact statements to the County Court in Bendigo on Friday.
Rodda, who gave a written apology to the family on Friday, sat in the dock, head down and crying throughout the statements.
Graeme Lowndes broke down in court as he described his son as a contagious young man whose smile could light up a room.
"I have been robbed of my son, robbed of seeing him grow up, robbed of seeing him in a sport that he loved," Mr Lowndes said. "I will never get to be a grandfather to his children.
"I think of him all the time. He's the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think about when I go to sleep.
"When I visit his grave, I think about when he's coming home. I know he never will, but it doesn't mean that I don't wish he could."
Mr Lowndes said he has lost motivation and drive since his son's death.
"I try to keep myself busy to help with the overwhelming grief," he said. "I love you to bits, Jason. You make me so proud and you have left a massive void for me for the rest of my life."
Mrs Lowndes said while the family had struggled to cope since the crash, she didn't want people to feel sorry for them.
"Jason made us want to get out of bed in the morning," she said. "I miss our daily chats and our big cuddles.
"I'm so proud of what he achieved in such a short period of time. I'm so proud to have created such a charismatic human being.
"Jason, we will always be your family and we will never forget you. It will be bloody hard without you. We miss you so much so don't go far away."
Mr Lowndes' sister Rebecca said her life changed when her brother died.
"It felt like the floor had been ripped open underneath me," she said. "I miss him so much. I miss hearing his voice and hearing his laughter. We had so many places we still needed to explore."
Ms Lowndes said the lengthy delay between court proceedings had impacted on the cyclist's family and friends.
"The long court process has been difficult," she said. "It's been a testing time for our family. We must do what we can to prevent other people from living through this nightmare."
Kelly Younger, Mr Lowndes' partner, said the two had set out a future together that would no longer eventuate.
"We had plans to travel the world together once his cycling career was over," she said. "We then wanted to settle down and start a family.
"I could see my life clearly and it made me ecstatic to see that he would be in it. Jason was the closest person to me. I feel like a big piece of me has been taken away.
"My heart literally hurt. It was painful both physically and emotionally."
Rodda's defence counsel Rahmin de Kretser told the court Rodda provided a written letter to the Lowndes family expressing remorse.
The letter was not read out in court, but Mr de Kretser said Rodda sincerely apologised for taking their loved one away.
The defence counsel said Rodda was assessed for a community corrections order and deemed suitable.
Mr de Kretser said he maintained his earlier submissions that a lengthy corrections order with community service would be an appropriate sentence.
The defence counsel said Rodda should also have her drivers licence disqualified for a period of time.
"She has driven since the incident without any infringements or incidents," Mr de Kretser said. "But Ms Rodda knows she will need to make other arrangements to travel to and from work without a licence."
Judge Wendy Wilmoth indicated on Tuesday a custodial sentence would not be necessary.
Rodda will be sentenced in Bendigo next month.
- December 2017: Cyclist Jason Lowndes dies after crash involving car
- December 2017: Bendigo cycling community in mourning after death of young athlete
- December 2017: Bikes, laughs, music and cakes - Jason Lowndes' wonderful world
- January 2018: A lap of honour for Bendigo cyclist Jason Lowndes | Photos, Video
- July 2018: Police lay charges over fatal crash with cyclist Jason Lowndes, near Bendigo
- July 2018: Major Collision Investigation Unit to return to scene of Lowndes crash
- July 2018: Major Collision Investigation Unit returns to Sedgwick Road
- August 2018: Woman charged over crash which killed cyclist Jason Lowndes appears in Bendigo court
- September 2018: Driver sent text messages before fatal Lowndes crash
- October 2018: Defence to probe investigation at Jason Lowndes fatal crash committal
- February 2019: Billie Rodda pleads not guilty to crash that killed Bendigo cyclist Jason Lowndes
- May 2019: Video message allegedly exchanged minutes before crash that killed Jason Lowndes
- May 2019: Date set for trial over cyclist Jason Lowndes' death
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