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Truck driver jailed for six years

A TRUCK driver was wiping tears from his eyes and sobbing as he was sentenced to six years in jail for running over his brother's fiance and killing her.

Damien Lee Turnbull, 32, was drunk when he drove his prime mover over Deborah Leahy after a belated Australia Day party in Burpengary on January 29 last year.

He had left the party abruptly after an evening of drinking with Ms Leahy and another friend in close pursuit to stop him from driving.

A jury found him guilty on Monday of dangerous driving causing her death while drunk after a trial in Brisbane District Court.

Today, he learned during a three-hour sentence he must serve two years and eight months of the jail term before he becomes eligible to apply for parole.

His parents, wife and one of his six children were in the public gallery as he was led away asking "not even a kiss?".

Judge Douglas McGill said he took into account Turnbull's distress upon learning the "tragic consequences that followed from the behaviour".

"I am satisfied you were well aware of their presence, that you knew they were trying to dissuade you from driving," he said.

"Your attitude was that you were driving off regardless of their attempts to stop you.

"You were not keeping a sufficient lookout ... to ensure their safety.

"I think there's elements of recklessness involved."

Mr Turnbull is also disqualified from driving for two years and eight months.

Crown prosecutor Sam Bain had told the court Turnbull, who lives in Orange, had a previous conviction for driving under the influence of drugs.

He said Turnbull had taken speed 12 hours before he rolled his truck on the Newell Highway at 3am after falling asleep at the wheel.

The court heard Turnbull had a 0.118% BAC about 3.5 hours after the Burpengary incident and would have been at least 0.135% on countback.

Mr Bain argued at sentence Turnbull should have been aware or, at least, keeping a proper eye on where Ms Leahy and another friend, who were trying to stop him driving, were.

He said he should have been even more careful behind the wheel of a truck which was likely to do more damage than a small vehicle.

Defence barrister Tanya Williams said while her client was intoxicated, he was not speeding and not driving erratically.

"Ms Leahy and Mr Turnbull were close friends and described as being like brother and sister," she said. 

Topics:  burpengary, court, truck driver


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