Helena Broadbent’s last recorded words capture her horrifying death and who was at fault.
Around lunchtime on September 28, 2019, she dialled triple zero from the back seat of her partner ute, as the pair argued.
He’s going to drive off with me and I’m in the car, she told the operator.
She then shouted: You f—ing idiot.
The operator then heard a scream. And then silence.
At 26 weeks pregnant, Broadbent was flung from the Mitsubishi Triton as Wilson turned a corner out of their street. She hit the road and suffered fatal head injuries. Doctors delivered her baby – a girl – via emergency caesarean, but the 32-year-old later died in hospital.
Wilson was on Friday jailed for 3½ years for dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop after an accident, as he continued driving after Broadbent fell, and only pulled over to close the back door.
He formally pleaded guilty last month after a County Court judge indicated what sentence he could expect in exchange for his admissions. The 38-year-old must serve two years and two months before he is eligible for parole, having previously served 130 days before .
Broadbent called triple zero earlier on the day she died to report Wilson had a hammer and had threatened to kill her. But police did not attend as Wilson drove away.
When he returned to their Keilor Downs home in Melbourne’s north-west hours later, she called a second time and repeated her concerns.
Wilson took some items from the home and left again, believing police were on the way. Broadbent followed him to remove child seats from the ute, but Wilson drove off.
Security footage shows the ute approach a corner, the rear passenger door open, and a person fall.
Judge Gerard Mullaly described Broadbent’s death as tragic and wholly avoidable, had Wilson chosen not to drive off.
But Wilson had been unable to curb his anger and risk-taking, the judge said, and although he knew Broadbent had climbed into the back and was unrestrained, he veered around a corner and his partner fell.
Here the simple and sad facts are you drove off with your partner standing and unstable in the rear of the car with the door open, Mullaly said.
It was your decision to drive at all in those circumstances that gives rise to the dangerousness, not so much the way you drove, though . . . it was not a cautious and responsible way to take that corner at all.
Tracey Broadbent said in a victim impact statement her daughter’s death had destroyed my soul, and she was angry and disgusted it took Wilson so long to plead guilty.
Some days my body aches so much from the stress of it, I can barely walk, she said.
I have headaches and panic attacks and honestly do not feel like the same person. I push through for the sake of the children.
She is now the guardian of Broadbent’s three daughters, and so grateful baby Helena survived, though the toddler still needs regular medical check-ups. The other girls were aged 1 and 2 at the time.
The idea that these three beautiful girls have to grow up without their mother causes me great distress and concern, Tracey Broadbent said.
Whatever sentence shall be given to William will never make up for the loss of Helena. The girls will have a lifelong sentence without being able to enjoy life with their mum.
Prosecutor Bruce Nibbs said the Broadbent-Wilson relationship was toxic and neighbours reported frequent shouting matches. An intervention order was in place.
Wilson was arrested that night and told police he knew Broadbent wanted the children’s car seats, but thought she had tripped when he could no longer hear her voice. He pulled over to close the rear door and was surprised he couldn’t hear her shouting.
I thought ‘Sweet, let’s go’, he told officers.
In sentencing, the judge acknowledged Wilson’s guilty plea, anxiety and depression. He also fined him $500 for possessing a bag of cannabis.
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