A man who killed his girlfriend when he crashed his car into a truck after using methamphetamine has been jailed for seven years.
Bailey Richard Hogan Jones, 22, had used the drug shortly before he and his 21-year-old partner Nukyah Gunthorpe went for a drive in an unregistered Ford Falcon early on December 17, 2018.
As the vehicle travelled south along Somerville Street in Flora Hill at a high speed, two men in an IVECO light truck travelling in the opposite direction moved to turn right into Keck Street.
When the driver saw the Ford approaching fast he instead steered to the left, while Jones hit the brakes.
The Ford then skidded into the truck head-on.
Jones hit the steering wheel airbag, but Ms Gunthorpe was thrown through the windscreen and hit the bonnet.
Neither were wearing seatbelts.
Ms Gunthorpe was taken to hospital, but died about an hour later.
Jones suffered serious injuries and was taken to Bendigo Health, then transferred to The Alfred in Melbourne.
He told a police officer at the scene he had used methamphetamine a couple of hours before, and a blood test detected the illicit drug in his system.
An expert determined Jones could not have had proper control of the vehicle with this level of methamphetamine in his body.
Jones pleaded guilty in the County Court to culpable driving causing death, using an unregistered vehicle, and committing an indictable offence on bail.
He will spend four years and three months in prison before he becomes eligible for parole.
Judge Kevin Doyle said Jones' drug use was causally linked to the offending and described his decision to drive afterwards, and at speed, as "entirely irresponsible".
"It seems to me your drug use is at the heart of this offending, and you knew it," Judge Doyle said.
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The speed at which Jones was travelling was disputed, but Judge Doyle sentenced Jones on the basis he was travelling at 96 km/h in the 60 km/h zone - the lower end of the range calculated by a defence witness.
He said the speed was not "extreme" for cases of this sort, but it, combined with the drug use, made this matter a serious example of culpable driving causing death.
Jones' moral culpability was high, he said, noting the offender was also on bail at the time and was in breach of his nightly curfew.
Judge Doyle did not accept a defence submission that Jones' post-traumatic stress disorder - which stemmed from the violent death of a friend in 2016 and was exacerbated by the loss of he and Ms Gunthorpe's baby in August 2018 - contributed to his offending, but said his mental illness would make prison harder and incarceration was likely to make his mental state deteriorate further.
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He noted Jones had used illicit drugs since his early teens and while he was abstinent in the lead-up to the birth of his child, the little boy's death four months before the crash caused led to relapse.
Judge Doyle took into account the victim impact statements of friends and family, who described their profound grief at Ms Gunthorpe's death, and said the sentence he imposed was no measure of her life.
The judge said Jones was remorseful for his crimes.
"I am satisfied that your remorse is genuine and your own grief substantial," he said.
Jones was on bail for an aggravated home invasion at the time of the crash - for which he was later sentenced to three years in youth justice detention - and had a history of driving offences, among others.
But Judge Doyle said that Jones would be an older and hopefully more mature person once he was eligible for parole, and with family support, he considered the man's prospects of rehabilitation as reasonable.
Jones' sentence will be served at the same time as his sentence for aggravated home invasion.
He was also fined $300 and was banned for driving for three years, starting on Friday.
Judge Doyle said he would have sentenced Jones to nine and a half years' imprisonment with a minimum of six years and eight months, had he not pleaded guilty.
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