A p-plate driver who caused the death of a teenager in a high-speed crash on Christmas Eve will spend at least two and a half years in jail.
Nicholas Hoenselaars, 18, was the front-seat passenger in a Mitsubishi Lancer driven by Savyo Khamou — also aged 18 at the time — in December 2020 when it crashed into a power pole at high speed at Leppington, moments after the vehicle was pursued by police.
The two teenagers were thrown from the car and the impact was so “catastrophic” the car split in two.
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Hoenselaars died at the scene, while Khamou was taken to hospital under police guard.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of manslaughter over the fatal crash in December last year, as well as one charge of not stopping in a police pursuit and a related charge of being a p-plater speeding more than 30km/h over the speed limit.
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On Monday, Judge Stephen Hanley sentenced Khamou, now aged 20, to a prison term of five years, with a non-parole period of two and a half years.
“The offence occurred without any regard of the life of the victim,” Judge Hanley said in handing down the sentence at Parramatta District Court.
“(Nicholas’s) capacity to live up to his potential was never able to be achieved.
“His loss of life was senseless and unnecessary.”
Judge Hanley said he was satisfied Khamou was remorseful and had good prospects for rehabilitation.
He agreed the offence would “haunt him for the rest of his life”.
Nicholas Hoenselaars, 18, died in the crash. Credit: Supplied
Judge Hanley found special circumstances were applicable due to Khamou’s age and the fact the sentence would be his first time in custody.
He admitted the 20-year-old will likely have a harder time in prison for the same reasons.
The court heard Khamou was caught speeding two months before the crash and had only held a provisional licence since January that year.
On the night of the crash, the two teenagers had left a restaurant and had decided to go see Christmas lights when Khamou was detected speeding by highway patrol officers.
Attempts were made to pull him over, but he didn’t comply, telling the court earlier this month he evaded police because he feared losing his licence and getting into trouble with his parents.
He was pursued by police and immediately before the crash, had been travelling at a speed of at least 157km/h.
The teenager was heavily involved in local soccer clubs. Credit: 7NEWS
“Even though he may have been immature, he must’ve been aware he shouldn’t have been driving at that speed,” Judge Hanley said.
Khamou earlier told the court he did not remember the crash and just had flashes of the night, but he remembered seeing Hoenselaars lying on the ground afterwards.
Following the crash, the court heard Khamou said: “I shouldn’t have listened. I should’ve slowed down. He was telling me to speed up. I don’t know why I listened”.
When asked why he was driving so fast, Khamou said, “we were scared”, the court heard.
The 20-year-old was charged on Christmas Day and spent three weeks in custody before being released on bail in January 2021.
In a victim impact statement delivered to the court during a sentence hearing earlier this month, Hoenselaars’s mother Katie Dokmanovic told the court her son was her best friend.
The teenager was planning his life with his girlfriend Natasa before he was killed. Credit: Supplied
“(Nicholas) was a boy who made me a mum,” Dokmanovic told the court.
“He was the boy who made our life better. He had a smile that lit up the room. He was loved by all, old and young.
“Nicholas’s life was just starting to flourish.
“He will never get married, he will never see his brother get married, he will never have children. He will never get to fulfil his dreams to travel.
“The world has lost a beautiful soul who was destined for greatness.
“Our scars run deep and our family is shattered. We will always be lost. We don’t forgive and we don’t forget.”
Khamou will be eligible for parole in December 2025.
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