Friends and family mourn the loss of Ipswich man Tom Drysdale at his funeral service at Warrill Park Lawn Cemetery last year.
Friends and family mourn the loss of Ipswich man Tom Drysdale at his funeral service at Warrill Park Lawn Cemetery last year.

Killer driver jailed

AN IPSWICH woman was jailed for six years for killing a father of three in a horrific car smash.

Leah-Anne Rouse, 39, was four times the legal alcohol limit and suspended from driving when she lost control of the car on Rosevale Rd and ploughed into a ditch.

The car rolled several times and her passenger, Thomas Edward Drysdale, 32, was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.

Ipswich District Court heard on November 3 that Rouse had been drinking at the Rosevale Hotel with her husband and their friend, Mr Drysdale, on the night of July 29 last year.

The Rouses left the pub about 9.45pm and started to argue outside, in the middle of the road.

Mr Drysdale tried to break up the fight before leaving in the vehicle with Rouse behind the wheel.

A witness told police he saw Rouse's husband walk off in the direction the car was heading.

A short time later Rouse's husband heard her screaming from a neighbouring paddock and the sound of a car horn blaring.

He found Rouse dazed and with minor injuries, wandering around the paddock with the smashed-up vehicle nearby.

He asked where Mr Drysdale was and found him near the car, unresponsive and not breathing.

The court heard the husband phoned triple-0 at 1.39am.

Emergency services attended but Mr Drysdale was unable to be revived.

Rouse pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, drink driving, and driving while on a SPER suspended licence.

Crown Prosecutor Sarah Farnden said Rouse's husband told police he had been driving, because he wanted to take responsibility for his good friend's death.

Ms Farnden said there was evidence Mr Drysdale had not been wearing a seatbelt.

She said Mr Drysdale died from traumatic injuries including a severed jugular, fractured skull and ruptured heart.

Police breath tested Rouse and she blew 0.138, however a forensic doctor believed her reading at the time of the accident would have been closer to 0.206.

Defence barrister Scott Lynch said Mr Drysdale had been a "willing passenger" and Rouse's husband had put a lot of blame on her for their friend's death.

Mr Lynch said Rouse "wouldn't have done it if she had have been sober".

The court heard Rouse was usually a "responsible citizen" and was highly regarded by her family.

Judge Deborah Richards said it was obvious Rebecca Cavanagh, Mr Drysdale's partner of eight years, was devastated about his death.

She said Ms Cavanagh's victim impact statement clearly showed how traumatic the tragedy had been for Ms Cavanagh and their three children.

"They are really just babies and they feel the loss of him every day," she said.

Rouse was sentenced to six years jail and disqualified from driving absolutely.

She will be eligible for parole on November 3, 2013.



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