Aussie driver who ran over Lankan student jailed for 10 years | Daily News

Aussie driver who ran over Lankan student jailed for 10 years

Nisali Perera
Nisali Perera

A killer driver has wept as he was sentenced to a decade behind bars over the death of a Sri Lankan student, who told her parents she would be safe in Australia. Shane Cochrane, 38, wiped away tears as he learned he would have to serve at least eight years in jail after hitting Nisali Perera with his car in August last year.

Ms Perera, 20, was on her way home and in the final semester of her degree at Monash University when she was struck as she crossed Wellington Road, near the university's Clayton campus.

Before she left Sri Lanka, she had told her parents that Australia was a "very safe country" and that "she could walk on the road at any time of the day".

But Victoria's County Court heard that Ms Perera could not be shielded from Cochrane, who fled in the moments after her death.

Judge Liz Gaynor said Cochrane had "irrevocably shattered" Ms Perera's family. "This is the third time you have fled the scene … this time leaving behind the body of a young woman you had killed," she said. Court documents reveal that the lights on Wellington Road had been red for 12 seconds and Ms Perera, who was using the pedestrian crossing, was just 2 metres from safety when she was struck.

The force of the crash flung her almost 60 metres, killing her instantly.

Cochrane fled the scene and then abandoned the car, which was later found near an abandoned church.

In her victim impact statement Ms Perera's mother, Kamal, told the court that she felt guilty for her daughter's death.

"When she gained entrance to the university of Monash, in Australia, we were in two minds [on] whether to let her go from our care and protection," she said.

"[The] irony of the situation is that Nisali had a strong belief that Australia was a very safe country and she could walk on the road at any time of the day."

"She had to end her life in the same country of which she had immense faith."

The court heard Cochrane, a father-of-one, started using drugs when he was 16 and had appeared in court on 30 occasions for charges like careless driving, unlicensed driving, speeding, dangerous driving and drug use.

In 2013, Cochrane left the scene of a crash while driving an unregistered car.

In 2018, and under the influence of the drug GHB, he stopped in the middle of a highway.

Also in the same year, and having already lost his license, he led police on a chase, reaching an estimated 200 kilometres per hour.

Cochrane has already spent 355 days behind bars, meaning he could be eligible for parole in about seven years.

He has been disqualified from getting a licence for five years.

(ABC News)