A PERTH driver who chased a teenage dirt bike rider in a case prosecutors described as “misguided vigilantism”, causing the 15-year-old to die in a crash, has been jailed for seven years.
Jude Nathan Francis, 26, was 25km/h over the speed limit when he tailed Mitchell Chase in Aubin Grove in December 2016, causing him to look over his shoulder at the offender’s Mercedes, go through a give-way sign and slam into another car.
Mitchell was thrown from the dirt bike and died in hospital the next day.
Francis wrongly suspected the boy was riding his stolen motorcycle.
When he drove up to the intersection, he observed the bike wasn’t his and went home.
He didn’t report the incident to police, although he told his parents the next day.
When officers came knocking, he confessed and was charged with three offences including manslaughter.
Francis was disqualified from driving at the time of the crash, having previously driven while his licence was suspended.
Supreme Court of Western Australia Justice Bruno Fiannaca noted Francis had consistently broken traffic laws, saying driving when he shouldn’t have that night was an aggravating factor.
Justice Fiannaca said a mitigating factor was Francis’ co-operation with police, although he lied about his two passengers, claiming they were hitchhikers.
Outside court, Mitchell’s grieving parents Wayne and Denise said they didn’t want to give Francis any further thought.
“We want to be here, remember Mitch, represent Mitch, draw from his strength, our love of him and his love of life,” Mr Chase told reporters.
Francis will be eligible for parole after serving five years.