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Driveway killer jailed four years

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/04/2017

The man who fatally ran over his partner in a Wellington driveway has a history of drink driving and being involved in domestic violence.

Mark David Stevens, an accountant, of Levin, was sentenced to four years' jail in the High Court at Wellington on Wednesday morning.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to running over his partner of 13 years, Delia Williams, 55, in the suburb of Northland on March 15 last year.

He also admitted driving with an excess breath alcohol level.

During sentencing, Justice Simon France said the duo's relationship was "volatile, disruptive and turbulent" and there had been 10 incidents of police being called during domestic disturbances involving the pair.

Justice France said Stevens had six previous convictions for drink driving, although the last one was in 2009.

On March 15 last year, after a day of drinking, the pair had begun arguing.

Crown lawyer Kate Feltham said Ms Williams had followed Stevens out of a house, trying to stop him driving because he'd been drinking.

Stevens tried to back out of the driveway while Ms Williams tried to stop him.

She tried the door handle and as the door swung shut, she fell.

Stevens then hit a parked car and drove forward, hitting Ms Williams as she was trying to get up before driving right over her, killing her.

Ms Feltham said Stevens had made no attempt to stop and check if Ms Williams was injured.

Justice France concluded there was "a high level of carelessness" on Stevens' part.

"You did not turn your mind to the risk Ms Williams was facing."

Ms Williams had been a fixture on Wellington's art scene until the early 2000s, first with a gallery in Cuba St and then later with one above the Matterhorn in Cuba Mall.

Stevens was to have stood trial in March on a murder charge but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by dangerous driving.

Justice Simon France said that after time already spent in custody, Stevens would serve a further three years for manslaughter and nine months for drink-driving, the latter to be served at the same time.

Stevens will also be disqualified from driving for four years upon his release from prison.

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