There are no words in any language that can adequately describe the trauma and impact my family have felt due to your criminal actions.
It is not possible for justice to be served in this case.
I endure the consequences of March 20, 2021 daily.
And while I am a firm believer in forgiveness, I also believe in accountability and consequences.
The term ‘accident’ in relation to my husband, Scott Burrage’s death, sets my teeth on edge.
There will be no convincing me his death was an accident.
You decided to get behind the wheel that night.
You would be of an age knowing that if you ran from police doing that speed that ‘an accident’ was likely.
You would have been aware that if you hit anyone doing that speed you would kill them.
You decided to drive like an idiot.
You decided to kill my husband.
That’s the blatant truth of the matter. The incident was no mere accident.
Let me tell you a story of consequences and sentencing.
My husband Scott had fitted a lightbar to our Prado earlier that morning.
The last photo I have of him was with our twins ‘helping’ him.
We had plans to travel south at Easter to finally go and see family.
These two things were important to Scott. Safety and family.
We put our three children to bed that night and after prayers and a hug and kisses, Scott left to go test the lightbar.
As a consequence of your behaviour he didn’t come home.
I phoned him.
He didn’t answer.
I sent a text.
Too late, he was already gone.
He never received my text.
Scott lost his life.
I can’t begin to imagine the horror he would have felt in his last moments.
I can’t tell you the guilt I feel because I wasn’t there by his side.
It wasn’t an easy death.
From what I have witnessed … he fought and he suffered.
The moment the police knocked on my door – my life sentence you imposed on my family began for me.
I knew looking at the officer’s crestfallen face what he didn’t want to say.
I collapsed on the floor and I can tell you I was screaming something shocking.
I was very shocked when he got down on the floor with me.
He told me he was sorry, that he tried to save Scott’s life but he couldn’t.
Through no fault of his own, Scott had been killed.
How about you take a minute to reflect on the consequences that our emergency services face due to the selfish behaviours of people like you.
As a consequence, I didn’t sleep that night.
I still don’t sleep at night.
And hey lucky me I’m symptomatic PTSD and pretty depressed if you were to ask any medical professional I have seen since the accident.
Did you know that you go into shock when you hear news like this?
Did you know that shock can make someone so nauseous they continue to throw up?
Did you know you can cry so much that your face hurts and can’t lay down on a pillow?
As a consequence, I was woken up by my three daughters running around the house looking for daddy.
I had to sit them down and tell them that daddy wasn’t coming home.
Did you have any idea what it feels like to have your child tell you that daddy can’t love them anymore because he’s in heaven and not with them?
Here’s some of the words spoken by my daughters. I think you should hear them too – in a way it’s their victim impact statement:
‘Daddy can’t love us anymore. Here’s not here.’
‘I know I have to be good mummy, I’m the second adult in the house now.’
‘I can’t hug daddy now … he liked my hugs.’
‘I hate you mum … you won’t bring dad back.’
‘All you have to do is go to the hospital and pick dad up … that’s where you got the twins from.’
‘You should have died too, if you won’t give us dad.’
‘Why can’t dad come to his special service … doesn’t he love us anymore.’
I also want to let you know how incredibly lucky you are.
It is by pure miracle that Scott was alone that night.
You see, it was Scott’s little tradition to take our eldest daughter with him anytime he fitted a new lightbar.
It was their thing.
By pure sheer dumb luck, our children wanted to camp in one room.
It was Saturday and we caved and let them ‘camp’.
As a consequence I also had to go and formally ID the body.
Have you ever had to do that?
I can’t describe the shock that comes with the cold hard realisation that a loved one is beyond your reach.
Scott’s eyes were still open.
There was no life or soul in those blue depths.
Just a revelation he fought to stay, and that hurts.
As a consequence, while you were out free in the community, I was still waiting for Scott’s body to be returned from Brisbane.
I got a phone call for our wedding anniversary this year.
From a coroner.
They had performed the autopsy on him that morning.
Cause of death – catastrophic brain injury.
Worst anniversary present ever. I just wanted a kid free dinner with Scott and to eat it while it was hot.
While you will probably get a jail sentence for a set time, my sentence you have given me will be a lifetime.
My children will also be affected.
You will get to walk free of jail.
I never will.
Emotionally I will never be the same.
I’m working on myself. And at this stage I am relieved I’m only breaking down two or three times a day, mostly.
My life is a wreck.
My home is a place of torment – full of memories and a life that is no longer mine.
You took that from me.
Financially I’m wrecked.
Due to your actions I will have to let go from the family home.
There’s no way I can get a new home loan.
The building in which we run our business from will also have to go.
These properties were a part of our retirement plan.
Well, that’s just gone up in smoke.
You took my financial future.
You took my husband.
The natural consequence is that we have lost a lot of our livelihood.
We have lost branches of our family-owned business.
As a consequence of our current situation, I will need to leave the business.
Scott’s death at your hands means I lose my livelihood.
I haven’t taken a wage since the incident.
I am 37 and I have to start my life from scratch.
I’m trying to mourn and at the same time work out a new career path … our business is lost to me.
The man you killed that night was a man of compassion and devotion.
He was a devoted father, he loved his children and would do anything for them.
At the school he was always there for parent teacher interviews, book drop offs, information nights … being an integral part of our daughters’ lives was very important to him.
He was a man who had a heart for the less fortunate.
He had been overseas on missions helping at schools being the man behind the camera and tech.
The girls’ home in India was especially important to him.
Scott worked and loved hard.
He had what felt like millions of plans for our future.
Now, that future is gone.
My future has been ripped from me as well.
I also said that in a case where a loved one’s life is taken so callously by a stranger, justice cannot be served.
No matter what happens to you, you cannot bring my husband back, you cannot fix my family, you cannot ease the pain you have caused.
You cannot restore my family, business, home or heart.
The damage is done.
Sorry will never be enough.
If you want to apologise then I throw this challenge to you.
You make something good come out of this tragedy.
You turn yourself around and do something in your sphere of influence to make a positive change.
That is how you apologise in this case.
So today I am leaving the judgment to the judge.
I am going to walk away from this trial and whatever you decided to do – I am making the decision to not let you affect me anymore.
I said at the beginning I believe in forgiveness – I’m working on my heart on this journey.
I’m not doing this for you, but for myself and my children.
My girls deserve a mother free of anger and bitterness.
So in honour of Scott and the incredible man he was I’m endeavouring to live a life that honours him.
What you did will not define me.
What you did will not have victory.
I have many, many battles to face … and even if it takes the next 60 years I will overcome.