The boyfriend of a woman who was killed while crossing the road has revealed that he was planning a surprise wedding proposal before she was fatally struck by a truck.
Aaron Roberts told a Sydney court of his devastation on Thursday, Feb. 1, at a sentencing hearing for the truck driver, who pleaded guilty to causing the death of Danielle McGrath on a pedestrian crossing in a Sydney suburb in November 2016.
The truck driver, 60-year-old David William Edward Grice, skipped a red light to make a right-hand turn at about 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 8. 2016. That’s when he hit McGrath, who was crossing the road with a green “walk” sign, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. She was reported dead at the scene.
Roberts told the court that he was one of the first people to arrive at the scene to find his girlfriend’s body under a sheet and her belongings and handbag strewn across the road, according to the newspaper.
He said that he placed the engagement ring, which he had secretly arranged for a jeweler to make, on his girlfriend’s finger at her funeral two weeks after the collision.
“I’ve lost the brightest part of my day, my best friend, and my future wife,” he said in an emotional victim impact statement. “I’ve lost my soul mate. The loss of Danielle has left me devastated, with a massive hole in my heart I will now carry for the rest of my life.”
According to the Herald, Grice, a truck driver for more than 20 years, said he first realised he hit someone when he heard “a noise at the side of the truck.”
He admitted that he did not turn his head to look at the crossing when he turned the fully loaded, 47-tonne truck around the corner.
Grice said in a letter to the McGrath family he read in court that his “heart is crushed.”
“I am devastated that my judgment has done so much damage to so many people and lives” he said, according to the news outlet.
The court heard that Grice had had his licence revoked before for speeding, and was twice fined for using his mobile phone while driving a truck.
— Kelly Fedor (@KellyFedor) February 1, 2018
McGrath’s father, Bill McGrath, said his daughter was so badly injured in the collision that she had to be identified by dental records, the Herald reported.
“Every day since, my wife cries herself to sleep and wakes up the same. She sleeps with a piece of Danielle’s clothing under her head for comfort,” he said.
He added, “To say Danielle will be remembered forever is an understatement. She is truly one of a kind.”
A memorial seat has been dedicated to McGrath at the location where her boyfriend planned to propose to her, according to the news outlet.
Ms McGrath, described as a "beautiful young girl with a heart of gold", died at the scene. https://t.co/68aIKHeR5G
— The Leader (@theleadernews) February 2, 2018