JUSTICE FOR MATT: Veronica Frazer with son Matther Cooper when he was a baby.Photo Contributed
JUSTICE FOR MATT: Veronica Frazer with son Matther Cooper when he was a baby.Photo Contributed Contributed

'Is that all my son’s life is worth – 10 months?'

"IS THAT all my son's life is worth - 10 months?"

The mother of a Bundaberg man killed by a "reckless" driver says the sentence handed down to the woman responsible was completely inadequate.

Veronica Frazer has spoken for the first time publicly about why she's continuing to fight for justice for 34-year-old Matthew Cooper.

In the Bundaberg District Court on June 20, Kaylah Jodynne Hadwen pleaded guilty to speeding through three give ways signs, with her lights out, on January 1 last year before slamming into the car in which Mr Cooper was a passenger.

HORROR START: One man was dead and five people transported to hospital on the first day of 2015 after a red Mitsubishi and silver Toyota collided on the intersection of Branyan and Woondooma St.Photo: Ben Turnbull / NewsMail
HORROR START: One man was dead and five people transported to hospital on the first day of 2015 after a red Mitsubishi and silver Toyota collided on the intersection of Branyan and Woondooma St.Photo: Ben Turnbull / NewsMail Ben Turnbull BUN020114CRA2

But the 20-year-old will spend just 10 months behind bars after the judge considered her age and young mum status as mitigating factors in determining the sentence.

Mrs Frazer will never get to see or hug her son again and knowing Hadwen gets to watch her own son grow up in 10 months is devastating.

"As far as his families concerned we believe it's been a total injustice," she said.

"The driver of the vehicle, Kaylah Hadwen, was not under influence of any sort of alcohol or drugs, she had her full faculties about her and she knew exactly what she was doing.

"In my books there is no excuse for her to get off with a lighter sentence.

"She was charged with manslaughter to start with and that was downgraded. I was told by the investigating officer that it's very rare that a manslaughter charge sticks.

"I want to be in a position where I can get people to recognise that if it's manslaughter, it's manslaughter.

"I don't care how old she was and the excuses that were thrown out in court about her being bullied at school, that's just rubbish.

"If she's old enough to have a child and have a licence then she's old enough to accept the full consequences of what she's done.

"In 10 months she'll be out and able to lead a relatively normal life, she'll get to see her son grow up but where's my son? What recognition dose Matty get out of it?"

JUSTICE FOR MATT: Matthew Cooper as a fun-loving kid. The 34-year-old was killed in a crash on January 1, 2015. Photo Contributed
JUSTICE FOR MATT: Matthew Cooper as a fun-loving kid. The 34-year-old was killed in a crash on January 1, 2015. Photo Contributed Contributed

Ms Frazer said she wants to fight for a tougher sentences and was looking to start a petition to lobby the justice system to hand down sentences which better reflect the crime.

"I want to speak up, I want to let the parliamentarians know that this is such an antiquated, outdated approach to crimes like this," she said.

"How many other families have to go through this? It's set on precedence and it shouldn't be.

"I was away working at the time and I took a call at 5am to tell me what had happened. We had to go to the Bundaberg Hospital and identify Matt - that's the hardest thing a parent can do.

"Why can't the law make the people that cause this damage go and see the damage they've done. She's caused insurmountable damage to our family.

"Get them to see who they've killed - to them Matthew was just a faceless person. They have no idea what he looked like.

"It's time for people to stand up and realise just how lenient the legal system is in issues like this."

Ms Frazer plans to start a petition at www.change.org to fight for tougher sentences.



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