Son testifies at trial over mother’s death

The son of a Sydney woman fatally struck by a truck on a pedestrian crossing in 2016 has told a court he offered to drive her home that day but she declined and decided to walk.

Nicholas Thwaites on Wednesday said his 60-year-old mother had dropped her car off to be serviced and wanted to do some shopping as she made her way home on the morning of May 20.

“She just bought some new exercise clothes that she was trying to fit into,” Mr Thwaites told the NSW District Court.

“She was really just excited to get back into a lot of exercise, she was quite fit for her age.”

Emmanuel Xiberras, 38, is facing a jury trial after pleading not guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death and failing to stop and assist after the Brookvale crash that killed Jo-Ann Thwaites.

The Crown says that if Xiberras was paying attention he would have seen Ms Thwaites on the zebra crossing, which was on a slip lane at an intersection.

It’s also alleged he then didn’t stop when he knew – or ought to have known – what had happened.

Mr Thwaites, in giving evidence, said that on the day of his mother’s death, he heard there’d been a traffic incident in Brookvale so he avoided driving through the area.

When he returned to her home and she wasn’t there, he got “this extremely sick feeling in the stomach and panicked”.

Mr Thwaites went to the scene just 200 or 300 metres away, where police told him what had happened.

A teenage boy also told the court he saw the fatal incident from the passenger seat of his mother’s car as she drove him to school.

During a recorded police interview, he said he saw a woman stumble “while crossing the pedestrian and a white truck has come over, not seeing her, and rolled over her”.

“I went to tell my mum what happened and I looked back and the lady was missing,” he said.

During his opening address on Tuesday, defence barrister Richard Pontello said Xiberras stopped and looked both ways before he drove onto the crossing.

He stopped again when he was on the crossing and giving way to traffic on his right, the lawyer said.

He said that in circumstances where Ms Thwaites tripped and fell into his client’s truck, there was nothing he could have done to avoid the tragedy.

“He had absolutely no idea that he had hit a person … and he had no reason to think that he had done so,” he said.

The trial continues.

Australian Associated Press

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