Malayalee Dimple Grace Thomas, a former nurse and personal carer, will have to serve 15 months in Australia before she is eligible for parole and also faces deportation to India after her release, Herald Sun reported.
A County Court in Melbourne sentenced the 32-year-old Thomas to two and half years in jail with a non – parole period of 15 months. She also faces deportation to India after serving the sentence. The court found her guilty of "wanton disregard of the law". Dimple Thomas was present in the Melbourne County Court, along with her husband and their three-year-old son. They broke down hearing the sentence.
Dimple was employed as a personal care worker, was behind the wheels of a car which collided with one driven by Ashlea Allen. She collided with the driven by a 28 weeks pregnant woman Ashlea Allen on the highway at about 60kmph on August 8, 2016, in Cranbourne. Allen suffered severe abdominal pain and underwent an emergency caesarean in hospital but her newborn daughter, Melarniah, died two days later because the life support had to be turned off.
The court heard that Thomas should have turned left onto South Gippsland Highway when leaving a car park after a gym workout, but instead drove across three lanes in an attempt to enter a gap in the central median strip and turn right, the report said.
Thomas's lawyer described her as an inexperienced and nervous driver and told the court she was confused about the intersection and had thought a car at the median strip was making space for her to turn right.
The Judge James Parrish found the design of the intersection was "unambiguous" and made it clear that cars leaving the car park had to turn left. The court heard that Thomas had been at the intersection many times previously and had always obeyed the law and turned left but last year's attempt would have meant a quicker trip home.
"I'm satisfied beyond reasonable doubt you were acting in wanton disregard to the law," he said, adding "The consequences of your driving have caused the death of a young baby girl. Such offending is serious."
Thomas wrote letters to Allen but prosecutors submitted they were sent in an attempt to minimise her culpability rather than a sign of remorse. Australian media reports have mentioned that Dimple Thomas was never remorseful of the incident and that only when the magnitude of the sentence struck her did she attempt some damage control. For most of the questions in court she answered with ‘no comments’. She is accused of pretending that she made a silly mistake, whereas her to her husband she admitted that she was taking a short cut.
What the court found equally bizarre was that Dimple Thomas went on to claim she did not know English, which is weird since she is a permanent resident of Australia. There is proof she is lying because she wrote two letters to Mrs Allen.
The judge said the nurse had been educated in English in India, had given her record of interview in English which proves she is lying.
Allen told the court that she never had a glimpse of her baby girl because she was under heavy medication. She wished that no mother had to experience this kind of shattering accident. She is reported to have told the court – “Our family would have been complete but now it is forever broken. No sentence will change the fact that we lost our daughter.”
with PTI inputs