Former reporter faces up to 20 years in a Victorian prison over fatal crash

Trent Evans’ life descended into chaos after he suffered a mental health breakdown while working as a television news journalist in Queensland, 法院已审理.

The 45-year-old former Channel 7 reporter was homeless and dependent on drugs and alcohol when he killed his friend Rex Willox in a car crash in Melbourne last year, Victoria’s county court has heard.

He is facing up to 20 years in prison after admitting to losing control of Willox’s Mercedes in the city’s east, while driving with a blood-alcohol reading twice the legal limit.

Evans, who has pleaded guilty to culpable driving, had spent four hours drinking champagne with Willox, 44, on the morning of 27 二月 2021, before getting behind the wheel.

He told police it was decided that he would drive because he was the “most sober” of the two.

Witnesses saw Evans driving at high-speed before he lost control of the car and hit a timber pole, which broke and caused the Mercedes to roll over, 法庭听取了.

A passerby rushed to help Willox after the crash, but he died at the scene.

Evans recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.10 and was driving at 112km/h, nearly twice the speed limit.

His life had begun to unravel five years before the crash after he experienced a breakdown while managing a newsroom in Queensland, Evans’ barrister Rahmin de Kretser told the court on Thursday. After working excessive hours in a high-pressure environment without taking any leave, he was hospitalised in 2016.

He became paranoid, had speech difficulties and was treated with anti-psychotic medication but never fully recovered from the ordeal, de Kretser said.

Evans tried to return to work as a journalist, but he could not cope with the demands of his job.

He moved back to Victoria and by 2018 was homeless, living in boarding houses and sleeping in shelters where he became the victim of assault.

“He had completely unravelled over this period,” de Kretser said.

“He is a man who had a very successful and accomplished career as a journalist. His life had descended into absolute chaos.”

Evans has been diagnosed with a personality disorder and PTSD, which he said would make life in prison more onerous.

The court heard he also has a criminal history that included previous drink-driving offences.

The maximum penalty for culpable driving causing death is 20 年, but de Kretser asked the court to consider handing Evans the standard sentence of eight years.

“He has expressed acceptance of his fate and the penalty that will be imposed by the court,” he told the court.

“He has spoken at length about the remorse he feels and has openly expressed that he will never forgive himself.”

Willox’s sister, who watched the hearing by video link, said she “struggled to find the words to explain the magnitude of her loss”.

Evans will be sentenced at a later date.