The teenage driver of a ute that smashed into a tree, killing five of his friends, is on suicide watch in prison as his lawyers urge for his application for his release from jail to be expedited.
Tyrell Edwards, 18, was behind the wheel when his Nissan ute smashed into a tree in Buxton, in Sydney’s southwest, just before 8pm on September 6 – the accident killing three girls and two boys from Picton High School aged between 14 and 16.
The P-plater was charged with five counts of dangerous driving causing death and was initially refused bail at Picton Local Court on September 8.
Lawyers for Edwards told the NSW Supreme Court on Monday that the teenager had been on suicide watch inside Silverwater’s Metropolitan Remand and Reception prison since September 8, and that a jail psychologists’ report was due by the end of the week.
Registrar George Galanis was urged to set down the bail application ‘at the earliest possible date’ and has now listed it to be heard on October 14, saying ‘I am conscious of the nature of the matter and its seriousness’.
The application came as the last of the funerals, for Summer Williams, 14, and Antonio Desisto, 16, were due to be held, following emotional farewells at the end of last week for Tyrese Bechard, 15, Lily van de Putte, 15, and Gabriella McLennan, 14.
Driver Tyrell Edwards, 18, was the sole survivor of the crash and has been charged with five counts of dangerous driving occasioning death
Edwards was behind the wheel when his Nissan ute smashed into a tree in Buxton, in Sydney ‘s southwest, killing five friends from Picton High School
Remnants of a green P-plate could be seen at the site where the five teens died in a car crash
During his initial bail application, the court heard that Edwards had prior speeding offences which led to his licence being suspended on two separate occasions
Police will allege officers obtained footage of the teens inside the car in the hour before the crash which claimed the lives of the five teenagers, four of whom were Picton High School pupils.
Antonio Desisto had graduated from Picton High School to start an apprenticeship as a carpenter, whereas Edwards had left the school more than a year previously.
Edwards’ local court hearing last week heard that earlier on the same evening, about an hour before the fatal crash, he had been filmed aggressively turning the wheel of the vehicle and swerving at 90km/hour.
Court documents claim that during the phone video, one of the alleged victims can be heard saying from the back seat, ‘we’re going to spin out, cuz’.
In an interview with officers, Edwards allegedly told police his steering wheel began ‘shaking’ and that he lost control of the vehicle.
Tyrell Edwards has been on suicide watch in Silverwater prison (above) since September 8, and a psych report is due, the court heard
Friends of the five students killed on September 6 visited the site of the crash a day after the multiple fatalities
Tyrell Edwards’ parents attended their son’s first court appearance in Picton, in Sydney’s south-west, where he was refused bail on five charges of driving dangerously occasioning death
Edwards appeared expressionless in court via video link from police cells, and sat with his hands clasped together while wearing a black hoodie.
Magistrate Mark Douglass said the decision to deny bail was ‘not made easily’ but he had taken into account Edwards’ driving history.
‘Given the egregious breach of trust, given the blatant breach of road rules that police allege occurred, this court has no confidence that this particular person would comply, given the history I’ve explained, with any bail conditions the court set at this particular point in time,’ Mr Douglass said.
Edwards, who worked as a labourer, has a history of anxiety and was left ‘traumatised’ by the incident, the court heard.
Edwards, who has no previous criminal history, was taken to Silverwater Correctional Complex where he will receive mental health support while in custody.
For confidential crisis support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, lifeline.org.au
Gabriella McLennan is pictured left with her best friend, Lily van de Putte. They died together in the car crash
Antonio Desisto (pictured right) and Summer Williams (left) also died in the car accident on September 6
Tyrese Bechard (pictured) died in the car accident when a Nissan ute slammed into two trees on East Parade in Buxton