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Man Sentenced To Four Years In Jail After Camping Festival Death

Written by Nastassia Baroni on December 6, 2014

A 25-year-old man has been sentenced to four years in jail after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving which caused death of Katie Broadbent, who was camping with a group of friends at a music festival in Rochester on Australia Day this year.

According to the Herald Sun, John Alexander Forbes was drunk driving when he backed his car over the tent in which Broadbent, 35, was sleeping while attending the private music festival Got Milk in the early morning of January 26th.

Police also allege he was high on ecstasy and say his blood alcohol level is estimated to have been between 0.201 and 0.206 at the time. Ms Broadbent died at the scene.

Reportedly, Forbes was unaware of what had happened and even tried to help Scott O’Connor, Broadbent’s boyfriend and Forbes’ friend, look for his girlfriend when she went missing, before they discovered her body in the flattened tent.

A witness later came forward saying they had seen Forbes in his car and noticed a tent that had become entangled with the vehicle. He was then taken into custody.

County Court Judge John Smallwood sentenced Forbes to four years in prison with a non-parole period of two years, and according to Nine News he said the sentence took general deterrence into consideration. “If jailing you saves even one life through general deterrence, I think that’s something the community would say they wanted,” he said.

Noting a character witnesses description of Forbes as a hardworking and valuable member of his community, the judge added, “The circumstances can only be described as every parent’s nightmare, from both sides.”

He also read out the victim impact statements made by Ms Broadbent’s parents. “I feel as though my heart has been crushed and broken,” Mr Broadbent said in a statement read to the court. “A piece of my heart is taken.” Ms Broadbent’s mother’s statement described “pure devastation” and added that she and her daughter were “true friends.”

“It’s hard to imagine a more dreadful scene,” Judge Smallwood said. He added that Forbes should have been aware of the risks of drink driving, especially considering he had been convicted of a minor drink driving offence when he was younger.

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