‘Untruthful’ kangaroo claim about dad’s death slammed

 

A CORONER has rejected a woman's claims that she thought she hit a kangaroo when in fact she had fatally struck a father-of-two in her Pajero and left him for dead.

Trinton Harmon, 43, was walking home through Mornington along South Arm Highway in Tasmania on the night of July 8, 2016 - an unusually dark and misty night with "little or no moonlight" and no streetlights.

Mr Harmon, who was heavily affected by alcohol and drugs and was wearing dark clothing, had earlier left his friend's car after becoming agitated.

But about 11.30pm, airport worker Simone Bridges ran into him from behind - the impact forcing him over her bonnet and windscreen before he landed back on the roadway.

Ms Bridges, who failed to stop or help Mr Harmon and drove directly home to Tranmere, has not and is unlikely to face criminal charges following a recommendation from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In her inquest findings released on Wednesday, Coroner Olivia McTaggart said she didn't believe Ms Bridges' claims she thought she'd hit a "big brown kangaroo".

"Upon any reasonable analysis, Ms Bridges saw an object on the road, albeit for a second or more, before she struck it. Having seen the object, as the other motorists did, it would have been apparent to her that it was a human and not a kangaroo," she said.

"Having been illuminated by the headlight, the human form would have been large and clear."

Forensic pathologist Donald Ritchie said Mr Harmon would have died almost instantly with brain injuries and severe traumatic damage to his chest, abdomen and legs.

Later that night, about 3am, Ms Bridges turned herself in to police after hearing a human fatality had occurred in the same area - but maintaining the damage to her Pajero was caused by a kangaroo.

Ms McTaggart said it was noteworthy the forensic pathologist and two crash investigators all said a driver in Ms Bridges' position would have been aware they'd struck a person, not an animal.

She also described Ms Bridges' evidence as marked by inconsistencies, "apparent untruths and statements that could only be described as incredible".

Ms McTaggart also criticised Ms Bridges' evidence and behaviour during the inquest.

"I came to the conclusion that Ms Bridges' sole concern was to exculpate herself from any responsibility in respect of Mr Harmon's death, rather than to assist the coronial functions," she said.

"Unfortunately, Ms Bridges' false account of the circumstances of the crash led to an unnecessarily lengthy investigation. In particular, her false testimony caused significant distress to Mr Harmon's loved ones."

 

amber.wilson@news.com.au

 

 

 

Originally published as Woman's 'untruthful' kangaroo claim about dad's death slammed


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