Home detention for drunk driver that killed teen cyclist

Author
Sam Hurley, NZ Herald,
Section
Crime,
Publish Date
Friday, 14 December 2018, 2:48p.m.
Nathan Kraatskow dreamed of being in the air force, before being fatally hit by a car. (Photo / Supplied)
Nathan Kraatskow dreamed of being in the air force, before being fatally hit by a car. (Photo / Supplied)

An Auckland teenager has been sentenced to home detention after killing a 15-year-old in a drunken hit-and-run - and later posting an insensitive social media post of herself in an orange prison jumpsuit.

Air force cadet Nathan Kraatskow, 15, died when a learner driver hit him at an Albany intersection on May 18.

Driving the Mercedes was 19-year-old Rouxle Le Roux, who had drunk wine and smoked cannabis earlier in the day.

When Kraatskow crossed the intersection, riding a small bike and wearing headphones but no helmet, the Mercedes ploughed through the crossing, sending him across the bonnet and into the air. He landed some distance away and died at the scene.

Le Roux, meanwhile, and her two passengers slowed down before she was told not to stop and continued driving.

Distressed by the crash, Le Roux pulled over and one of her passengers, a 21-year-old named Sam, took over and drove the damaged car to a friend's house.

Sam and a group of friends then returned to the scene in another car and saw police attending to Kraatskow. They did not stop.

Rouxle Le Roux was sentenced to home detention today in the Auckland District Court. Photo / Sam HurleyRouxle Le Roux was sentenced to home detention today in the Auckland District Court. Photo / Sam Hurley

Le Roux's group of friends later saw news reports of someone having died from the crash, while Le Roux's mother told her daughter to get some rest before going to police in the morning.

But the next day, Le Roux's mum and Sam first went to a panel beater to seek advice about what to do with the damaged car.

Some 16 hours later, Le Roux and both her passengers went to police.

Today, in the Auckland District Court, she was sentenced by Judge Nicola Mathers before a huge gathering of support for Kraatskow.

Kraatskow's mother said her first-born was a caring and loving young man with a bright future.

"I wake up every morning hoping this is a dream," she told the court. "Then I realise it is real."

More than 500 people had attended Kraatskow's funeral, she said.

"My heart is absolutely broken, I don't think it will ever get better, I think we will just learn to live without him.

"I will always miss my cheeky, caring boy and will always dream of the man he was growing up to be."

Kraatskow had dreamed of being in the Royal New Zealand Air Force since he was just 5, the court heard.

He was a Year 11 student at Vanguard Military School and had previously spent two years at Rangitoto College.

When his mother found out the driver responsible for her son's death was also a teen she "actually felt sorry for her".

"I thought the poor girl has a life sentence now and two lives have been taken," she said.

However, she was horrified when she was sent a Halloween Instagram post of Le Roux wearing an orange prison jumpsuit with the caption reading: "Hide your children".

"I just could not understand how someone could be so heartless and think this whole thing was a joke," she said.

Kraatskow said while no punishment will ever bring back her boy she hoped it would stop Le Roux from repeating the same mistakes.

Kraatskow's father was so overcome with emotion he was unable to read his statement to the court.

"My son was taken from me," he said, before breaking down in tears. "I'm still trying to understand this all."

Kraatskow's mother then continued to read her husband's statement.

"I cannot believe anything you said happened that night," she told Le Roux. "I don't' believe you have any remorse."

She said the pair had watched Le Roux at every court appearance and seen "non-stop" social media posting of her "partying and drinking despite being on bail".

Today's sentencing had been postponed to allow Le Roux, who was supported by her mother and friends in court, to graduate.

Le Roux's lawyer, Belinda Sellars, QC, said her client accepts "full heartedly" her Instagram post was "ill-thought out".

"At the end of the day this was an accident," she said.

Judge Mathers said it will never be known the volume of narcotics Le Roux consumed on the night but was she convinced it must have influenced her driving.

"The tragedy is a 15-year-old boy has lost his life as a result of your actions," she said.

She said the statements of Kraatskow's parents were "heart-wrenching".

"Nothing I say will, of course, bring back their son, brother or grandson," Judge Mathers said. "What is important is that you are held accountable for your offending."

However, the judge did accept Le Roux was genuinely remorseful. She said there was "no purpose" in sentencing her to prison

"I am of the view that the public's right for deterrence makes way for the least restrictive sentence," she said.

Le Roux will serve 11 months of home detention alongside a sentence of 250 hours of community work, while she was also disqualified from driving for two-and-a-half years.

 

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