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Beautiful day turns tragic, court hears

AAP logoAAP 2/09/2016 Sophie Tarr

A driver whose truck ploughed into a broken-down car north of Sydney, killing a passenger, has told a court he "never expected an accident" that day.

Steven Barnett was found guilty of dangerous driving occasioning death earlier this year after a Downing Centre District Court jury heard evidence he had taken his eyes off the road to admire the view on May 1, 2014, as he hurtled along a motorway towards the stationary car in which Bree Standford was sitting.

Her grieving family was at a sentencing hearing on Friday as Barnett said he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the deadly crash.

"I was in a happy mood when I woke up that morning. It was a beautiful day," he said in a low voice.

"I never expected an accident to happen."

Barnett's trial heard that when police asked Barnett what he believed had caused the crash, which had left Ms Standford with fatal injuries, he replied: "Oh, my stupid mistake I suppose. I looked away when I shouldn't have. Stupid. Stupid."

In an emotional victim impact statement read out in court on Friday, Ms Standford, 19, was remembered as a "beautiful", hard-working young woman.

She had been studying journalism and planned to travel to Africa to work with orphaned animals before the tragedy.

Thoughts of the final seconds before the crash still haunted her loved ones, the court heard.

"Did she know what was going to happen to her? She would have been so frightened. We will never understand any of this, ever," a family statement said.

"To lose a child so young when she had so much life to live is the cruellest feeling."

Barnett is expected to be sentenced later this month.

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