Tyrell Edwards, 18, who was dressed in prison garb and had a beard and moustache, watched as Justice Robert Beech-Jones granted him bail with the tight requirements that he stay with his parents and not interact with anybody younger than 18 unless he was with his mother.
As the court heard shocking details of what occurred shortly before the ute Edwards was driving on September 6 crashed into two trees, Edwards’ eyes slumped.
Justice Beech-Jones said that the ute was revolving clockwise before it hit with the first tree when it crossed onto the wrong side of the road at East Parade in Buxton, which then led it to revolve anti-clockwise before crashing with the second tree.
The court said that Edwards’ “aggressive swerving” while operating the truck with an unsecured passenger in the back caused this to occur.
According to him, Edwards had recorded himself performing it an hour before the deadly collision at 8 o’clock and had reportedly been “doing the same technique” only moments before the disaster.
Half an hour before the many fatalities, at about 7.30 p.m., Edwards had approached another car before “accelerating away,” according to the testimony given in court.
Edwards’ bail terms include having a curfew, not leaving his parents’ house unless his mother is with him, abstaining from alcohol use, and not operating any motor vehicles.
The 18-year-old had a “moderately high suicide risk,” had a “introvert personality,” suffered from survivor guilt and humiliation, and was aware of the “stigma he would face… in detention and in the community,” according to a jail psychologist’s assessment submitted as part of his parole application.
Justice Beech-Jones said, “It seems (his) punishment has already begun,” noting that the five offenses for which Edwards is accused have a potential term of 10 years in prison and that he would likely get a lengthy sentence.
Just before 8 p.m. on September 6, Tyrell Edwards, 18, was operating his Nissan ute when it crashed into a tree in Buxton, southwest of Sydney, killing four students from Picton High School, ages 14 to 16.
The P-plater was first denied bail at Picton Local Court on September 8 after being charged with five charges of reckless driving causing death.
Two weeks ago, Edwards’ attorneys informed the NSW Supreme Court that the adolescent had been placed on suicide watch at the Metropolitan Remand and Reception facility in Silverwater since September 8.
After a week of heartbreaking goodbyes for Tyrese Bechard, 15, Lily van de Putte, 15, and Gabriella McLennan, 14, this was as the final of the funerals for Summer Williams, 14, and Antonio Desisto, 16, were held last month.
According to police, in the hour before to the collision that claimed the lives of the five adolescents, four of whom were students at Picton High School, authorities were able to collect video showing the youths inside the vehicle.
Unlike Edwards, who graduated from Picton High School more than a year before, Antonio Desisto was about to begin an apprenticeship as a carpenter.
Last week, during Edwards’ local court hearing, it was revealed that he had been seen on camera swerving and rotating the car’s wheel violently at 90 km/h earlier that same evening, roughly an hour before the tragic collision.
According to court filings, one of the alleged victims can be heard stating, “We’re going to spin out, cuz,” on the phone footage.
Edwards reportedly told police during an interview that the steering wheel started “shaking” and that he lost control of the car.
Edwards sat still in a black sweatshirt with his hands clasped in front of him in court via video connection from the police cells.
The decision to refuse bail was “not made easy,” according to Magistrate Mark Douglass, although he had taken into consideration Edwards’ driving record.
According to Mr. Douglass, “this court has no confidence that this particular individual will comply with whatever bail restrictions the court sets at this specific moment in time given the egregious betrayal of trust and given the flagrant breaking of traffic laws that police believe happened.”
The court heard that laborer Edwards, who has a history of nervousness, was “traumatized” by the occurrence.
Edwards, who has never had a criminal record, was brought to the Silverwater Correctional Complex where he will get treatment for his mental health while he is being held.
Contact Lifeline at 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au for private crisis help.