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A young woman has been sentenced to just three months in prison after filming a Snapchat video of herself while driving under the influence in outback Queensland, causing a high-speed accident that killed her co-worker.
On Thursday, Kate Ellen Alford pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle that led to the death of her friend, driving under the influence of alcohol, using a handheld mobile phone while driving and not wearing a seat belt, in September. of 2020.
Alford, then 19, and Amy Pilgrim, 23, had been drinking at the Springsure Hotel in central Queensland when Alford decided to drive them 130km back to the cattle station where they both worked.
Alford, then 19, had been shooting a Snapchat video while she was driving under the influence in September 2020 when she lost control of her vehicle and killed her friend Amy Pilgrim, 23.
The court heard that a concerned friend had warned Alford, still bearing her P2 plates, not to drive under the influence and followed her Toyota Prado in another vehicle.
The friend said that Alford had exceeded the speed limit before stopping for a short 20-minute break.
None of the girls put their seat belts back on when they re-entered the vehicle.
Alford had been filming a six-second video of her and Mrs. Pilgrim on Snapchat while they were driving.
A scream could be heard on the video as Alford lost control of the car, went onto the dirt shoulder, cut down a tree and flipped the car multiple times.
Mrs. Pilgrim was found 20 meters from where the Prado landed.
Her friend arrived at the scene a short time later, but had to leave the girls to find the phone reception to call the emergency services.
Crown prosecutor Sarah Dennis said that when the friend returned, Alford was trying to resuscitate Mrs Pilgrim with CPR as she cried: “I killed Amy.” I’m going to jail. I killed her before I passed out.
The court heard that Ms. Pilgrim died due to multiple catastrophic injuries.
Alford’s blood alcohol level tests taken two hours after the crash returned a reading of 0.071.
Australia’s legal alcohol limit for open license holders is 0.05.
Amy Pilgrim’s body was found 20 meters from the car crash in rural Queensland, September 2020.Judge Burnett told the court that Mrs Pilgrim’s life had tragically ended too soon due to Alford’s negligence and said he was shocked by the “narcissistic behavior of people when they should be concentrating on the road ahead”. .
“This is a case of no winners,” he said.
“It is an unfortunate reality that these cases commonly involve overconfident youth and immature youth, who are recklessly indifferent to their own safety and the safety of others on the road.”
Mrs Pilgrim’s family
Mrs Pilgrim’s family said she had traveled to Queensland from her Victorian country house to fulfill her dream of working on a cattle station in central Queensland.
The court heard that Alford was diagnosed with alcohol use disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder after drinking heavily to cope with the fatal accident.
Judge Burnett said he believed Alford’s early guilty plea, remorse, lack of criminal or traffic history, and “excellent record” showed that he would be successfully rehabilitated.
“Ultimately, it is much better for the community that you, having served time, are encouraged to get on with your life … to make amends as best you can for the tragedy you inflicted on another family,” Judge Burnett said. .
“Three months in prison is nothing compared to the life sentence we have to live without Amy, after the senseless loss of Amy’s life.”
Mrs. Pilgrim had told the court in her victim impact statement that nothing would ease the loss of her family.
‘This hell will never go away. We live in a new world of hopelessness, loneliness, and life without Amy,” she said.
“We are always looking for our baby, always playing catch-up. There is no end. This is hell. The tears never end.
Amy Pilgrim’s family were only able to invite 20 people to her Victorian funeral in Nhill due to Covid restrictions.
Instead, members of Mrs. Pilgrim’s hometown riding and sports clubs formed an honor guard in the street.
Amy Pilgrim Quick and Facts
- Kate Ellen Alford was sentenced to three months jail for fatal drink drive accident
- Alford and Amy Pilgrim, 23, had been drinking rural central Queensland in 2020
- Alford then decided to drive them both back to the cattle station they worked at
- Alford had been filming a Snapchat video when she lost control of the vehicle