Mother of four who killed boys aged 8 and 9 as she plowed into their classroom is accused of lying about a bottle that rolled under her brake ‘because she kept her foot on the accelerator’
- Maha Al-Shennag, 56, Deliberately Denies Pressing The Accelerator On 4WD
- She crashed her 4WD into a Greenacre primary school and killed two boys in 2017
- Jihad Darwiche, 8, & Andrew Encinas, 9, Died After Car Plowed In Class
- Al-Shennag faced a sentencing hearing in the NSW District Court on Friday
A woman who crashed her four-wheel drive at a Sydney primary school, killing two boys, has denied stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake.
While the prosecutor said Maha Al-Shennag’s evidence was an attempt to minimize her actions, her lawyer referred to the difficulty for her “to come to terms with the enormity” of what happened.
The 56-year-old widow and mother were due to appear in NSW court on Friday.
Maha Al-Shennag, 56, (pictured) appeared in NSW court on Friday for a hearing in which she denied pressing the accelerator instead of the brake on her four-wheel drive
She pleaded guilty to two dangerous driving charges that killed eight-year-old Jihad Darwiche and nine-year-old Andrew Encinas.
The classmates died and others were injured after Al-Shennag’s Toyota Kluger entered the parking lot before plowing into a classroom at Banksia Road Public School in Greenacre in November 2017.
The parties have drafted agreed-upon facts that say Al-Shennag bent down to pick up a water bottle that fell into the footwell before pressing the accelerator instead of the brake.
Al-Shennag told court she tried to steer the car away from the classroom, but it “flies like a plane” (photo, scene of accident at Banksia Road Public school)
But in her tearful testimony, she said she didn’t take her eyes off the road or bend down.
‘I thought the water bottle went under the brakes; when I pressed the brake it didn’t work,” she said.
As she tried to steer the car away from the classroom, it ‘flies like a plane’
Jihad Darwiche, 8, & Andrew Encinas, 9, died after Al-Shennag’s Toyota Kluger plowed into their classroom in 2017 (pictured)
The two young boys died and other classmates were injured after the car plowed through a classroom (photo, left flowers at Banksia Road Public school)
Prosecutor Monika Knowles referred to her excellent 20-year driving experience, alleging that she bent down to pick up the bottle but then pressed the wrong pedal.
“Your foot stayed on the accelerator when the car took off,” she said.
“No way, no way, none,” Al-Shennag replied.
She was “very sad” about those two kids” and “it’s like a nightmare to me” ever since it happened.
Ms. Knowles said the evidence indicated that Al-Shennag was trying to minimize her actions by not admitting to stepping on the wrong pedal.
“Her evidence betrays the belief that she never took her eyes off the road,” she said.
Al-Shennag’s Toyota Kluger entered the parking lot before plowing into a classroom at Banksia Road Public School in Greenacre in 2017.
But her attorney Luke Brasche said it was difficult for his client to process the sheer magnitude of what was happening.
“While some of the things she testified about were inconsistent with the agreed upon facts, that doesn’t diminish the overwhelming evidence that she expressed remorse over a period of time.”
He claimed her moral guilt was very low and “similar to, if not, temporary inattention” when she was distracted by the bottle.
Her family would suffer “extraordinary hardship” if she were imprisoned and an appropriate sentence could be an intensive correction, served in the community.
But Ms. Knowles said it was not an appropriate case for a community order, filing the offense was more than just a temporary oversight and involved more than low moral guilt or distraction.
“She has renounced the proper management of the car.”
Judge Stephen Hanley will sentence her on September 20.