Monday, June 17, 2024

‘I couldn’t bear it’

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Josh Martin and his proud mother Clare White. Photo supplied

Clare White, the mother of 17-year-old schoolboy Josh Martin who was killed following a collision near his school in October,  was so distraught following his death she considered ending her own life.

Mrs White (O’Hanlon) asked in an emotional victim impact statement this afternoon in the Manukau District Court how she could ever expect to explain the extent to which the death of Josh had impacted her life.

“I was struck with an intense sense of pain the day I found out Joshua had died…that pain continues to live in me daily,” she told the court while fighting back sobs.

Mrs White and a large family contingent were in court for the sentencing of local man Josef Kadlcik, 46. He was charged following the collision that killed Josh.

Joshua, also known as Josh O’Hanlon, died less than 300m from the school when Kadlcik’s SUV collided with his motorbike on October 15 last year near McDonalds on Pakuranga Road at around 12.50pm.

The Year 13 student was heading to KFC nearby to collect his pay cheque when the accident occurred.

Kadlcik was sentenced by Judge Jane Lovell-Smith to 200 hours of community work, disqualified from driving for 15 months and ordered to make reparations of a little over $24,000.

Kadlcik  pleaded guilty last month to careless driving causing death.

“What an amazing young man that lost his entire life on the day of 15 October 2015,” Mrs White said in her victim impact statement today.

“The accident where another road user thought he could pass across the road… unfortunately that impatience has brought me to the brink of suicide on more than one occasion.”

Josh, she said through tears, had just achieved his Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award, his advanced scuba diver certificate, represented his school at the Stage Challenge as Romeo in the play Romeo and Juliet. Her son had also starred in a film in the leading male role and was recognised as best actor.

“Josh represented the school playing the tuba in the school concert band and was also awarded a certificate for his work as a peer support person and he was house leader for Kauri House and was awarded for his leadership skills,” she said.

“Just before Josh died he was awarded a scholarship for Massey University but sadly Joshua will not be able to fulfil that dream.

“My life changed in an instant from happiness to anguish and it is going to take years to overcome that anguish and sincere pain that has engulfed my life. I have suffered multiple nights without sleep and I often wake up in the night and find myself crying.”

Mrs White and husband Darren had with them in court a framed photo of a smartly-turned out Josh in a white shirt with black tie and big smile. They also brought with them a glass orb which contained some of his ashes.

Every time I see a student, see a motorbike, see a family, have a birthday, have Christmas, it reminds me of what I have lost and will never have again,” Mrs White told the court.

“Unfortunately, Josh has had his future life stolen from him and from me and my family forever. There is no excuse for failing to give way but then there is no punishment that would do any good.

“Now I have seen Mr Kadlcik’s brokenness…nothing will bring our Joshua back.”

Meanwhile Kadlcik, who stood with his head bowed during the reading of the victim impact statement, looked up at Mrs White when she proffered an unscripted addendum. “I just wanted to say I forgive you…I feel your pain.”

Her brother Keith O’Hanlon, fighting back tears, added: “Josh would hold no animosity towards Josef. He would forgive him.”

Judge Lovell-Smith accepted submissions from both the police prosecution and Kadlcik’s counsel that the defendant took responsibility for Josh’s death and was profoundly affected as a consequence of the accident. “He’s absolutely devastated that his actions resulted in the death of this young man,” his counsel said.

“His remorse is extreme…words cannot express his grief.”

Kadlcik, a man the judge said was of impeccable character and a devoted father and family man, had stopped at the lights and turned around in front of Josh at low speed, the court heard.

“I accept your remorse is genuine and I accept that you have been broken by the events of that day,” Judge Lovell-Smith said.

By: Nicholas Krause

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