A 12-year-old boy has avoided jail time for causing a crash that killed an 11-year-old girl.
The boy, who cannot be named, was doing donuts in his dad’s ute in Wyndham, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, when the vehicle rolled, killing Abbey Forrest.
Abbey had been sitting in the tray of the ute with another girl when it flipped.
The boy was sentenced to an eight-month intensive youth supervision order at the Kununurra Children’s Court on Monday after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death.
Children’s Court Judge Hylton Quail was scathing of the child’s parents for giving the boy access to the vehicle, ABC News reported.
Abbey Forrest, 11, (pictured) died after sliding out the tray of a ute near Wyndham in the Kimberley region of Western Australia on September 7, 2019
‘The truth is this tragic accident should never have been allowed to happen,’ Judge Quail said, accusing the father of a ‘gross failure’ of parenting.
The court heard the child’s father had done donuts with him while they were in the car together.
Judge Hylton Quail said he also taught his son to drive and knowingly gave the boy the keys to the car.
The star student was named junior person of the year at the East Kimberley Aboriginal Achievement Awards only weeks before her death
The 12-year-old was originally charged with manslaughter but the charge was downgraded to dangerous driving causing death.
The judge also acknowledged the child’s remorse and ongoing trauma as a result of his friend’s death.
He said the boy was so upset he was unable to apologise personally to Abbey’s mother after the crash because he was scared to talk to her.
Instead, he wrote a letter of apology to the family and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
Abbey’s family remains devastated over the death of the talented Aboriginal student.
Her brother Tom Forrest said it was difficult to comprehend the child responsible was only given eight months.
Her mother, Jessica Forrest (pictured together), laid her daughter to rest on October 7 last year – what would have been Abbey’s 12th birthday
The schoolgirl’s family say they are still coming to term with Abbey’s death, but are finally starting to get closure
But he agreed the situation was a result of ‘irresponsible parenting’ and said the family was finally getting closure over Abbey’s death.
‘I think our family always knew the sentence would never make us feel good, or would never be enough to match what we’ve been through with Abbey’s death,’ Mr Forrest said.
‘We feel like we’ve lost everything, and the other party hasn’t lost anything.’
The star student was killed in the fatal accident on September 7 last year.
Just weeks before her death, Abbey was named junior person of the year at the East Kimberley Aboriginal Achievement Awards.
She had also been offered four scholarships and was only days away from starting her induction at a private school in Perth.
Abbey was buried on October 7 2019 surrounded by family, elders, classmates and community – some of whom read letters to her during the service
Flowers adorn the child’s grave at Gully Cemetery, Wyndham, in Western’s Australia’s far north