The grief-stricken family of an elderly couple killed in a horrific
Sydney car crash hopes the jail terms handed to two illegal street
racers will help protect others from such devastation.
Robert James Borkowski, 38, and Adam McDonald, 29, were today jailed for the manslaughter of Alan and Judith Howle.
Howles, both aged in their 70s, were killed in July 2007 when
Borkowski’s Holden Commodore slammed into their Toyota Camry at the
intersection of the Great Western Highway and Charles Hackett Drive in
the western Sydney suburb of St Marys.
Police alleged Borkowski
and McDonald were involved in a street race at speeds of up to 130km/h
on a 60km/h stretch of the highway.
McDonald’s car, also a
Commodore, did not hit the Howles’ vehicle but ploughed into
Borkowski’s vehicle after the initial collision.
In the NSW
District Court at Penrith today, Judge William Knight sentenced
Borkowski to a non-parole period of six years with a maximum term of
McDonald received a five-year minimum sentence with an eight-year maximum.
In handing down his sentence, the judge said he hoped it would send a clear message to other potential street racers.
were two men behaving in a totally irresponsible manner with no regard
for the rights and privileges of road users,” the judge said.
community is fed up to the back teeth with men misbehaving themselves
driving motor vehicles and putting others at risks – in this case the
In a statement from the family after the
sentence was handed down, one of the victims’ sons, Phillip Howle, said
that while there were no winners, they were glad both men were off the
“Hopefully, these sentences will bring about the
protection of innocent lives so no one else will have to go through the
same pain – both for our families and their families,” he said.
her victim impact statement, the Howles’ daughter Cathryn Przybyla
described her parents as “the foundation of our houses, our hearts, our
“They died alone, Dad on the road, Mum trapped in the
car – any sentiments to what they deserved in life? No.” she told the
“A major part of all of us died that night … that cold, cold night changed us all … all these hearts shattered forever.”
Dozens of family and friends wept openly in court as she read the statement.
When they died, the Howles had seven children, 15 grandchildren and one great grandchild on the way.
their deaths, the family has struggled with relationship and financial
problems and most members needed medication or alcohol to get to sleep, Przybyla said.
“Having to identify them in the morgue, their
faces etched in your brain like the reminder of a bad dream you can’t
wake up from,” she said.
“We live now without our parents and without their unconditional love … the warm arms of Mum or the cheeky smile of Dad.”
A statement from Borkowski was read to the court by his lawyer, Philip Young.
In it, he expressed his deep regret and his desire to speak to others about dangers of drag racing.
“There’s not a night that goes by that I don’t relive the horror of what I did,” the statement said.