The 17-year-old driver of an allegedly stolen car that killed a pregnant couple in Brisbane’s Alexandra Hills on Australia Day has been charged with eight more charges relating to the fatal incident.
Katherine Leadbetter, her unborn child Miles and her partner Matthew Field were walking their dogs in the Brisbane bayside suburb when they were hit and killed by a car that is suspected to have run a red light before crashing into a truck and rolling on them.
Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said the teenager, believed to have been driving the car, was served notices to appear via his lawyer on Monday afternoon.
The extra charges include dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while adversely affected by intoxicating substances, wilful damage, driving while disqualified, failing to fulfil duties at the scene of a traffic accident and possession of tainted property.
Assistant Commissioner Codd said police received legal advice that charges relating to killing an unborn child were unavailable to them on this occasion.
“This may be difficult to understand, but I can assure you the death of baby Miles won’t be overlooked,” he said.
“[His death] will be presented for consideration to the courts as an aggravating murder charge that we have put forward relating to the death of his mother Kate.”
Assistant Commissioner Codd said it was important to the family that the court recognised a third life was affected in the fatal incident.
He said the families of Ms Leadbetter and Mr Field were understanding of the legal processes.
“They have been incredible, they understand,” he said.
“We spoke about this potentiality, and the issue was less about technical charges and more about an acknowledgement that their grandson was taken from them as well.
“Their strength is strengthening us, I can assure you.”
Assistant Commissioner Codd, who appeared visibly upset as he spoke of the investigation, said the work of police is “far from finished”.
“We’re painstakingly pulling together any activity of the alleged offender prior to during the incident and subsequent to it,” he said.
“Some relate to the driving behaviours in and around before the fatality, but are all related to those sets of circumstances.”
Police were invited to the couple’s funeral and Assistant Commissioner Codd said the gesture was empowering for police and first responders involved.
“This is a tragedy and we can’t give them back what they lost, but what we can do is represent the community and the families now in pursuing justice on their behalf.”
He said the discussion around bail was an important one, but was not particularly relevant to this case.
“What we need to understand is sometimes these things are occurring for people who are not on bail and I don’t want that lost in the discussion in the youth justice arrangements that are being looked at.”
“As I’ve tried to allude without crossing prejudicial boundaries for this matter, the offender in this case was not one that fitted that category very neatly.
“I was concerned the discussion about Kate, Matt and Miles being swallowed up in that.
“The youth justice way forward is a complicated set of circumstances that is not going to have any easy fix – bail is but one component of it.”