Grief-stricken truckie who killed a Victorian cop has sentence cut

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Samandeep Singh had a year slashed from his sentence for ploughing into a policewoman. Picture: David Crosling / AAP ImageSource:AAP

A truck driver who knew his brakes were faulty when he hit and killed a Victorian policewoman on her way to work has had his jail term slashed.

Samandeep Singh was jailed for four years for killing 45-year-old First Constable D’Arne De Leo as she rode her motorbike to work on January 12, 2017.

He pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving causing death.

But Court of Appeal judges knocked a year off his sentence on Friday after finding the sentencing judge should have put more weight into his guilty plea and deep remorse.

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First Constable D’Arne ‘Dee’ De Leo was killed while she was riding her motorcycle to work on January 12, 2017.Source:Supplied

They found there were “powerful and unusual” mitigating features and dropped his sentence to three years in prison with a non-parole period of one year and nine months.

The 31-year-old ploughed into the policewoman at about 33km per hour as he tried to slam on his brakes at the intersection of Boronia Road and Eastlink at Wantirna.

Singh became aware his brakes were compromised after he left a Bayswater warehouse in the truck, which was overloaded; the way the truck was loaded rendered the front wheel brakes useless.

He was left with “intense grief, guilt and remorse” as a result of the crash. He attempted to take his own life repeatedly and self-harmed, the appeal judges wrote.

“The enormity of Ms De Leo’s death weighed heavily on him and he tattooed much of his upper body with references to her and to the collision,” the judges wrote.

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Samandeep Singh pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death of an off-duty policewoman who was on her way to work. Picture: David Crosling / AAPSource:AAP

They said his “extreme psychiatric response” demands a “significant moderation” in the sentence.

The driver’s deep-seated remorse and guilty plea meant the original sentence was “outside the range” of available sentences.

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But they said a jail term was still warranted in the circumstances.

“It was very dangerous for the appellant to continue driving a fully laden truck after he realised its brakes were failing, and to continue doing so for some distance rather than to stop,” they found.

The driver is expected to be deported to India after his sentence.

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