A truck driver was high on a cocktail of drugs and had only slept three hours in five days before causing a fatal crash which killed four police officers.
Mohinder Singh, 48, thought he was being chased by a witch in the moments leading up to the horrific crash on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway on April 22.
He pleaded guilty to causing the deadly accident at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday.
His actions caused the deaths of Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney.
The four were impounding a Porsche driven by mortgage broker driver Richard Pusey when they were struck and killed by Singh’s semi-trailer.
Mohinder Singh, 48, on Thursday pleaded guilty to four charges of culpable driving causing the officers’ deaths during a routine traffic stop on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway in April
The Melbourne Magistrate’s Court heard evidence about Singh’s mental state and fatigue in the lead up to the crash on Thursday.
Singh had spent the past few days with the same woman smoking ice and cannabis and downing bottles of Bourbon in the days before the crash, reported the Herald Sun.
She had begged him not to get behind the wheel knowing how tired he was.
‘I told him he would kill someone if he didn’t get some sleep … but he didn’t understand, he didn’t get it.’
He had told that same woman the day before the fatal crash ‘when he is driving, he doesn’t know if he is asleep or awake.’
The court also heard he had a delusion he was being followed by a witch who had chased him through paddocks and sat in his passenger seat.
‘He said she wouldn’t leave the car no matter how much he begged,’ the woman told police.
Other witnesses said Singh was so tired he couldn’t speak in the days leading up to the accident.
Left to right: Constable Glen Humphris, Senior Constable Kevin King, Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Constable Joshua Prestney all died in the crash
Some of those were people he was selling drugs to out of the cabin of his own truck over a period of four months.
The truck driver also admitted to selling ice and weed to a number of associates during his court appearance.
‘I had never seen anyone as drug f***ed in my life. He hadn’t slept for 8 days,’ one associate told police.
Other witnesses included other highway users who questioned his driving along Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway.
After the crash the driver insisted he had never hurt anyone before, with his lawyer describing Singh’s remorse in court on Thursday.
‘Mr Singh would like to be clear he’s very sorry for the deaths of the four officers – they are innocent people,’ his barrister Peter Morrissey SC told the court.
‘He pleads guilty now and we will conduct the proceedings very respectfully in the Supreme Court.
Mohinder Singh thought he was being chased by a witch in the moments leading up the the horrific crash on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway on April 22
Singh will remain in police custody until he faces a post committal directions hearing at the Supreme Court on December 11.
No application for bail has been made.
The truck driver had been ready to admit his guilt in November, but the case hit a procedural snag.
The deaths of Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney was the biggest loss of officer lives in a single incident in Victoria Police’s history.
‘We would like to note the professionalism in which (Victoria Police) conducted the investigation, in very emotional and trying circumstances.’
Prosecutors previously had withdrawn 27 charges.
Pictured: Truck driver Mohinder Singh
Singh on Thursday also pleaded guilty to six other charges, including trafficking of methamphetamine and cannabis, and dealing with proceeds of crime.
Singh was hospitalised after the crash and has been in police custody since. Previous court hearings have been told he has anxiety and depression.
Prosecutors sought, and defence agreed, to have Singh sentenced in Victoria’s Supreme Court, rather than the County Court as would usually occur.
The move is unusual, but not unheard of in complex or high-profile cases.
It has been done in other cases involving multiple culpable driving charges, including for the trial of Thomas Towle over the deaths of six teens near Mildura in 2006.
After his first court appearance in the days after the crash, lawyer Steven Pica said Singh was ‘distressed and saddened’ at his actions.
Richard Pusey, the driver of a Porsche who allegedly fled the scene of the truck crash, is taken away from his Fitzroy property by police on April 23
The officers were all killed on April 22 after they had pulled over Porsche-driving businessman Richard Pusey.
Pusey himself is facing more than a dozen charges after allegedly filming the crash site and verbally abusing a senior constable as she lay dying.
Pusey avoided being struck in the crash as he had been urinating off to the side of the road.
He allegedly fled the scene and was arrested a day after the crash on April 23.