Life sentence for hit-and-run

William Maker with his wife Susan.
William Maker with his wife Susan.

Justice Lindy Jenkins gave Luke David Taylor (24) a life sentence on July 30 for a hit-and-run that killed William Maker (29).

Taylor will have to spend at least 12 years in prison before being eligible for parole. Justice Jenkins ruled that if he was released then, he would be disqualified from driving for seven years.

Explaining her sentence, she said the former Quinns Rocks resident borrowed a car on April 13, 2013, to drive to his sister’s house in Merriwa, despite not having a valid licence at the time.

Although witnesses said he had been drinking the night before, there was insufficient evidence that he was drunk on the Saturday morning when the vehicle he was driving struck Mr Maker on Baltimore Parade.

‘First you drove to another address in Quinns Rocks (where the occupant) warned you that you were being stupid and you would probably kill someone,’ Justice Jenkins said to Taylor.

‘You then drove to your sister’s place in Merriwa. You were revving the engine and squealing tyres along streets and along roundabouts in that area.’

The judge said Mr Maker, who was drunk at the time, was sitting on a footpath near a Baltimore Parade bus stop when Taylor drove past. ‘As you drove past Mr Maker, he shouted an obscenity at you for driving in that manner,’ she said.

‘You drove down to the next roundabout at Grand Paradiso Parade and went around the roundabout for four or five times before driving the car back up Baltimore Parade towards the bus stop.

‘(Mr Maker) walked onto the roadway ” he stood on the left-hand side as your car approached with his arms out, waving his arms, shouting abuse at you and yelling at you to slow down.

‘Despite having time and good visibility to see Mr Maker, you continued to accelerate the car up Baltimore Parade.

‘Some witnesses described the engine revving loudly or straining. You did not attempt to slow down, brake or swerve.’

Justice Jenkins said Mr Maker tried to get off the road when the car was about 10m to 15m away, but had only turned slightly when it struck his legs.

‘Mr Maker went up onto the bonnet, the windscreen and the top of the roof of your car before he landed on the roadway,’ she said.

‘Mr Maker sustained serious injuries which ultimately caused his death later that same day.’

Mr Taylor only slowed slightly and drove back to Quinns Rocks, where police arrested him four hours later. ‘You knew you had hit the person who had been standing in front of your car and some people told you to hand yourself in to police,’ the judge said.

‘Instead, you had at least a couple of beers and a cup of champagne which was left over from an event the previous evening.’

Although an expert said alcohol impaired Mr Maker’s ability to sense and react to danger, Justice Jenkins said the focus should not be on the victim’s drunken behaviour.

‘What must not be forgotten is he did that because he wanted to stop your dangerous driving,’ she said. ‘Whatever the reason for a person standing on a roadway, a motorist, who is effectively in charge of a dangerous weapon, has a responsibility to drive within the road rules and to avoid dangerous situations.’ 

Taylor was moving towards rehabilitation

LUKE David Taylor (24) had behavioural problems growing up as well as issues with alcohol and drugs, but started taking steps towards rehabilitation.

Supreme Court Justice Lindy Jenkins said Taylor migrated to Perth from England when he was 16, having already dropped out of school, and had not had steady employment since.

‘Up until your arrest, you were using cannabis and drinking to excess every day,’ she said.

‘You have made steps towards your rehabilitation.

‘These steps include stopping your drug use in prison, getting work in prison, doing education courses while in prison, pleading guilty to this offence and writing your letter of apology.’

Justice Jenkins outlined Taylor’s record, which included 12 convictions for various traffic offences, and two minor drug convictions.

‘Your offending was a likely result of your lack of consequential thinking, poor problem solving skills, impulsivity, lack of self-control and psychological immaturity,’ she said.

‘You had a bad driving history and yet no penalty imposed on you beforehand deterred you from driving dangerously on this occasion.’

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