Narelle Dobinson, who was killed riding her bike.
Narelle Dobinson, who was killed riding her bike. Contributed

US sailor jailed

A UNITED States sailor has pleaded guilty to killing Ipswich woman Narelle Dobinson after the car he was driving collided with her bicycle.

James Eric Linabury, 25, was tried yesterday at Bremerton Naval Base in Washington where he pleaded guilty to negligent homicide.

Linabury was driving a military vehicle on July 24 last year when it collided with the bike Mrs Dobinson was riding at an intersection near RAAF Base Amberley. Mrs Dobinson died a week later in hospital.

Linabury had been driving to a service station to get a coffee.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to 63 days in a military prison, but due to an agreement between defence and prosecution, he will spend 28 days in jail with the rest suspended for eight months. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail.

Mrs Dobinson's eldest son Troy and his brother Brett were flown there by the Navy for the trial.

Speaking from Washington, Troy's voice revealed the toll his mum's death and the court case have taken on him and his family.

"It's been the most emotional day of our lives," he said. "There's no happiness or anything like that.

"But he's been found guilty of killing mum and our priority was all about ownership of what happened.

"He read out an apology to the family and directed it straight to us. Brett and I both couldn't look him in the eye; we couldn't look up because it was too emotional.

"The guy is genuinely sorry for what he's done and he's got to live with it every day of his life as well.

"He's got a wife and two kids who are going through it as well. You can't right the wrong."

Mrs Dobinson's death and the death of two other Ipswich cyclists led to Troy launching the 24/7 Cycling Safety Fund.

"It's such a small thing; he's gone to get a coffee," Troy said.

"For us it's all about trying to make sure it doesn't happen to anybody else and give cyclists a facility they can use to ride safely.

"Still to this day I feel that mum wouldn't have been riding there if such a facility existed in Ipswich."

Linabury contributed to the 24/7 Cycling Safety Fund.



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