Husband's plea after wife's killer's 'soft' sentence

THE PAINTED forensic markings of Sharon Cuthbert's final moments are a daily reminder to her family of what they've lost.

Her husband, Michael, and their two daughters, Makayla, 13, and Shylah, 11, still grieving the loss of the popular 39-year-old Noosa Council employee, have had to endure the pain of seeing the markings everyday right outside their home, where Sharon was killed.

About 5pm on July 27, 2017, a truck being driven by Andrew David Muirhead hit Mrs Cuthbert outside her School Rd, Coolum Beach home.

Michael and neighbours tried to revive his wife, but she passed away on the scene.

Michael Cuthbert and his daughters, Makayla and Shylah family of Sharon Cuthbert who was killed when hit by a truck outside her home 18 months ago.
Michael Cuthbert and his daughters, Makayla and Shylah family of Sharon Cuthbert who was killed when hit by a truck outside her home 18 months ago.

Muirhead was sentenced in Maroochydore District Court to three and a half years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death.

He will be eligible for parole after he's served 12 months.

Michael opened up about the loss his family had suffered and their battles since, as he hoped to put pressure on Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath to appeal what he felt was an inadequate sentence.

"It's just been mentally punishing waiting for that day (sentence)," he said.

He said Muirhead's poor driving record had stunned him and the sentence handed down was out of touch with community expectation.

"Everyone that you talk to, they're all of the same view. The only ones that aren't (are in the legal profession)," Michael said.

"The end result is the same. Someone died.

"It's not until you find yourself in this position that you really understand how bad this position is and how poor our sentences are.

"Nothing's going to happen in time for our case but there's got to be mandatory minimum sentences (in future). No one gets 10 years (for killing someone while driving)."

Muirhead waited about 18 months to send a letter of apology, it was then rejected by the family.

"He drove past my house one day," Michael said.

"What sort of person does that?

"He just has not cared."

Michael was home on the afternoon Sharon was killed. His daughters were inside watching TV when he heard the collision.

"It was just absolutely horrendous," he said.

"I couldn't see any obvious injuries."

He initially thought she may have just been knocked out, but it became evident "pretty quickly" just how badly his wife had been injured.

"All these really quick thoughts go through your head," Michael said.

"You don't get that chance (to say goodbye).

"The girls gave her a kiss (that morning before school) and never saw their mum again.

"She'd been getting out of her car here everyday for 14 years, no dramas.

"All the marks are still there (forensic paint outside their home of where Sharon was on the road)."

Michael said Muirhead had robbed his children of a mother and forced his daughters to grow up faster than they should have.

He said it was also hard to accept that they would turn out differently than they would have if his wife had been raising them.

"There's conversations I've had with them that you never should," Michael said.

One of those was explaining the difference between burial and cremation when his daughters were just 9 and 11.

"They're still good kids and I think they're doing well considering, but I think they know a lot more than they should," he said.

Michael said he couldn't contemplate leaving the family home anytime soon.

"There's so much of her in this house," he said.

"She was extremely popular and likeable. She made friends so easily.

"Everyone got on with here, she was a genuine, good person. There was about 750 people at her funeral service, it was just overflowing."

Michael's boss had enabled him to adjust his work hours significantly as a result, but the 47-year-old's income had been reduced, as he'd had to work only in school hours as he raised his daughters alone.

He said his push for sentencing reform was needed and hoped it would help other families avoid the same trauma his had undergone over the past 18 months.

"It seems they're scared to ask for precedent to go higher," Michael said.

"They're just piss weak."

Former detective and Ninderry MP Dan Purdie said he heart went out to the family, who'd been robbed of "their mother, their wife, their sister and their daughter".

"The sentence handed down doesn't live up to the community's or the family's expectations," he said.

"Given the offender's past history, he shouldn't have been on the road in the first place.

"Once again we've seen this soft on crime Labor government putting the rights of offenders before victims."

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