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NSW driver guilty plea to house car crash

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016 By Margaret Scheikowski

Vanessa Farrugia was 20 weeks pregnant as she stood on a verandah saying goodbye to friends when a car smashed into the Sydney house.

Her horrific injuries led to her baby dying in utero the next day and to her undergoing forced labour and delivery induced by medication.

The driver, 43-year-old motor mechanic Jason Mansweto, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to driving dangerously occasioning grievous bodily harm to Ms Farrugia and to Sylvia Vella, whose left leg was badly injured.

He asked the District Court to take into account further offences related to the June 2014 crash at Windsor Downs in which two other people on the verandah received relatively minor injuries.

Mansweto had just finished rebuilding an "iconic" 1969 GT Ford Falcon XW model sedan, which was unregistered but bore plates with the number 69AGRO, according to court papers.

The mechanic, who was test driving the car for the first time, had never bolted the steering wheel onto the column since he bought it, having put the nut in the car console.

Meanwhile, Ms Farrugia was about to leave her friends' house.

"They were saying goodbye when they suddenly head the loud sound of a car engine," the papers said.

"They looked across the driveway and saw a car coming up the road straight towards them.

"They had only seconds to try and get out of the way."

Mansweto applied the brakes to slow down for a corner but when they didn't work he pumped the brake with his foot while pulling back on the steering wheel, which came off in his hands.

Ms Farrugia, who was thrown back into the house and knocked to the floor, suffered terrible injuries including fractures to her skull, face and foot, a large deep cut to her forehead and leakage of spinal fluid under her skull.

She's been left with a permanent loss of her sense of smell, and had a craniotomy for her brain injury, plastic surgery for her facial injuries and numerous other operations.

Mansweto told police he had been excited about the test drive and he forgot that he hadn't put the nut back on the steering wheel.

He also said he bled the brakes two weeks before the crash and tested them before this drive.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday.

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