“Compassion and dignity” for the driver who killed a kayaker

Andrew Martin was killed in a car accident on September 27, 2020.

Martin de Ruyter / Stuff

Andrew Martin was killed in a car accident on September 27, 2020.

The family of the kayaker killed in a ‘war zone’ collision two years ago wants to help the driver who caused his death move on with his life.

Andrew Martin died in a car crash on State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson on September 27, 2020. His daughter, Lucy, was seriously injured in the crash, along with two other motorists.

Jamie Pheonix McPherson, 25, was sentenced by Judge Garry Barkle on Tuesday to one charge of aggravated driving causing death and four counts of aggravated driving causing bodily harm in Nelson District Court.

Martin’s extended family was present during the sentencing, including his ex-wife, two daughters and mother.

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The crash, caused by reckless driving by McPherson, killed Andrew Martin and seriously injured his daughter, Lucy.

BRADEN FASTER / Stuff

The crash, caused by reckless driving by McPherson, killed Andrew Martin and seriously injured his daughter, Lucy.

Anna and Lucy Martin each read victim impact statements at sentencing.

Lucy Martin said McPherson caused irreparable damage to her life.

In addition to the loss of her father, Lucy suffered cognitive issues as a result of the accident, which placed her in a “whole new world” as she had to relearn basic skills such as speaking, eat and walk.

“There isn’t a day that my brain injury and the death of my father doesn’t affect me.”

Lucy’s mother, Jane Martin, also read a victim impact statement.

She described seeing Martin and Lucy motionless in the car after the crash.

“You, Jamie, cut his life short. It is devastating and unfair.

In the week after the accident, Lucy’s memory was so bad that she couldn’t remember what she had done 10 minutes earlier.

Jane had to wait two weeks to tell her Andrew was dead, in ‘what was the most painful conversation [she] never had with [her] the girl.”

While she sometimes felt “intense hatred” towards McPherson and what she had done to her family, Jane said she was not a hater and that would not bring Andrew back.

Andrew Martin's ex-wife, Jane Martin, described seeing Andrew and Lucy motionless in the car after the accident.

BRADEN FASTER / Stuff

Andrew Martin’s ex-wife, Jane Martin, described seeing Andrew and Lucy motionless in the car after the accident.

Judge Barkle said Martin’s untimely death and Lucy’s life-changing injuries were the “shocking and terrible” consequence of McPherson’s conduct.

The defense and counsel agreed that a sentence less than jail time was appropriate, and Martin’s extended family agreed.

McPherson attended three restorative justice sessions with the family before her sentencing, where she and Martin’s family spoke about the impact the accident had had on their lives.

“Andrew’s family have accepted your apology, they accept that you are sincerely sorry and remorseful.”

“The family has much more understanding and are filled with concern for you, dare I say compassion, beyond many victims inside this court.

The victims’ family wanted to help McPherson move on with her life by receiving counseling and wanted McPherson to take an outward course using the money she gave them.

Despite McPherson’s reserve around the end of the outward leg, she wanted to do it.

Judge Barkle sentenced McPherson to six months in community custody on each of his four charges, as well as 15 months of intensive supervision.

McPherson’s license was suspended for 21 months and she was to pay $5,000 as emotional harm payment to Martin’s family at $150 a week, in addition to $2,500 to her daughter, Lucy.

The $5,000 would be used to pay for McPherson’s attendance at an Outward Bound course if she chose to do so.

Judge Barkle ended by wishing McPherson the best and said he hoped she could carry out the sentence without difficulty.

He thanked everyone involved in the case for their “compassion and dignity”.

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