James Andrew Culshaw outside the District Court in May.
James Andrew Culshaw outside the District Court in May.

’Mum and dad were so happy and you killed him’

THE young children of a much-loved father killed in a high-speed crash in the Barossa Valley say they feel sad whenever they see other kids playing with their dads because they can no longer do the same.

"When I see people with their dad, I think about my dad and how I don't have him by my side," Shane Byrne's son wrote in his victim impact statement read to the District Court on Friday.

His sister also wrote a heartfelt statement about her father, who was killed when his motorcycle was hit by a car driven by James Andrew Culshaw near Shea-Oak Log in March 2014.

"He always loved us and we loved him - mum's heart is broken and you should know that," she said.

The statements were read to the court by the children's mother, Shanna, who also spoke of her heartbreak over losing her "best friend".

"Because of you, my children don't have their father. Because of you I no longer have my best friend," she told Culshaw.

"My children were four and six when they were told their father had been killed, growing up without him hasn't got easier - it just gets harder."

Last month, District Court Judge Sydney Tilmouth found Culshaw, 29, guilty of driving dangerously when he crashed into the back of Mr Byrne's motorcycle on the Sturt Hwy, killing him instantly.

The prosecution argument hinged on two factors - that Culshaw was dangerously speeding by travelling at 115km/h in a 40km/h roadworks zone and that he had more than sufficient time to see the motorcycle ahead of him before the collision.

Culshaw hit Mr Byrne's Harley Davidson so hard it became embedded beneath the bonnet of his Magna sedan.

Judge Tilmouth said Culshaw's speed while driving through the roadworks did not constitute dangerous driving despite being more than 70km/h over the speed limit.

But he said the length of time Culshaw would have been able to see the motorbike in front of him constituted a failure to drive safely.

Defence lawyer Craig Caldicott said Culshaw - also a father of two - failed to see Mr Byrne, 44, because of his poor eyesight.

He asked the court for a fully suspended sentence or home detention.

In his submission, prosecutor Peter Longson told the court Mr Byrne would most likely be alive today if Culshaw had picked up prescription glasses which had been waiting to be collected.

"The reality is ... none of us would be here if he collected the prescription glasses," he said.

Judge Tilmouth will sentence Culshaw next month.

News Corp Australia


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