The estranged wife of former Parramatta Eels chief executive Denis Fitzgerald will spend at least two years behind bars for severely injuring four people in Sydney after drink driving and texting.
Lisa Mottram, who wept in the Parramatta District Court dock on Friday, was sentenced to four years imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years.
Judge Justin Smith told the court the former hairdresser showed a “high level of moral culpability” in September 2018 when she ran down four Hong Kong residents visiting Australia who were due to fly home the next day.
One of the victims suffered brain bleeding, a collapsed lung and was left in a “minimally conscious state” after the collision.
Another, Judge Smith said, was unlikely to regain function of her lower limbs.
The 51-year-old Mottram recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.113 on the night she was arrested on September 16, 2018.
Mottram had been drinking at The Fiddler in northwest Sydney and was seen stumbling through the pub before walking into a pole about 6.30pm.
Judge Smith said Mottram was driven home by a friend. She then left home at 9.19pm to make a 29-minute drive to meet a companion in South Windsor.
The court heard that after twice swerving and correcting her vehicle, Mottram collided into the four tourists on Hezlett Road, leaving them all unconscious.
She had been texting while driving moments before the collision.
Judge Smith said that while Mottram had suffered mental health problems following the breakdown of her marriage with Mr Fitzgerald in 2017, “that does not lessen her moral culpability in any way.”
“Drinking excessively is not a crime,” Judge Smith told the court.
“It was the decision to drive while intoxicated, text while driving and continue to do so even after swerving that lie at the heart of her culpability.”
Mottram will be eligible for parole on November 28, 2021.