Sharon's family wants longer jail for death drive
NOOSA residents are being asked to sign a petiton demanding stronger sentencing for the convicted killer of Sharon Cuthbert who was run down in Coolum by a man with an "appalling” traffic record and traces of drugs in his system.
Andrew David Muirhead, 40, pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court to dangerous operation of a vehicle causing the death of the mother-of-two.
Judge Richard Jones sentenced Muirhead to three and a half years' imprisonment with parole eligibility after 12 months, sparking online community outrage and a petition by Ninderry MP Dan Purdie for the state to appeal the sentence.
This received more than 2500 signatures in less than a day. Campaigner Sharon Goddard has urged even greater support for a tougher penalty.
"Many of you know Sharon Cuthbert, she grew up in Noosa and worked at Noosa Council, she was a beautiful bright 39-year-old, mother of two little daughters and devoted wife to Michael Cuthbert,” Ms Goddard said.
She said 18 months ago Sharon was walking into her house when Muirhead, who was on a provisional work licence having 18 driving offences against his name, side-swiped her car and killed her. "He was found guilty on Monday and given only 3.5 years jail, parole in one year ... that's right one year for taking Shaz off this earth. Her family is appealing, but they need your help to petition the government ... please sign www.justicefor
sharon.com.au,” Ms Goddard said.
The post quickly received a string of "done” responses and Linda Haskard posted: "I didn't know Sharon (RIP) but I've signed this petition because this sentence just blows me away.
"How would the judges feel if their partner, mother, daughter etc was taken from them in these circumstances? How about life for life?”
The court heard Muirhead was found to have trace amounts of methamphetamine in his system and a blood alcohol concentration of 0.034 when driving. Mrs Cuthbert's mother Karen Broderick said she was "just gutted” by the sentence.
"The judge could have given up to 10 years,” she said. "This guy has 18 offences. I wouldn't wish this upon anybody, she deserves better than this... it's just an outrage, I'm just disgusted.”
Mrs Cuthbert's husband, Michael, said the support had been "amazing so far”.
"Everyone I speak to and just when they hear that parole eligibility is in 12 months for what he did and his previous track record, it's just outrageous,” Mr Cuthbert said.
Mr Purdie said he could "clearly recall” Mrs Cuthbert's death and having got to know Mr Cuthbert and his two daughters, felt he had to join them seeking justice.
An Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions spokesperson said: "A final decision has not been made at this time.”