Navarre crash: Lorraine Nicholson avoids jail for crash the killed four women

Lorraine Nicholson.
Lorraine Nicholson.

A Stawell woman charged over a crash which killed four grandmothers on their way home from a night of line dancing has avoided a jail term.

Lorraine Nicholson, 66, pleaded guilty at the County Court in Ballarat on Thursday to four charges of dangerous driving causing death.

Judge Michael Bourke sentenced Nicholson to a four-year year community corrections order, meaning she will not serve any time behind bars.

Nicholson must complete 500 hours of unpaid community work and has had her driver's licence cancelled for eight years.

She had been on bail throughout the court proceedings.

Judge Bourke said it was "an extremely moving and difficult case".

"This reaches the end of a long and arduous proceeding," he said.

"It hasn't reached the end for many people.

It must be clear I have found this an extremely difficult and moving case.

Judge Michael Bourke

"I express gratitude and admiration of the people who have suffered so much and the way they have conducted themselves throughout."

At an earlier court hearing in February, Nicholson had shown extreme remorse towards the victims and their families.

Nichsolson's Jeep T-boned a Kia driven by Hamilton's Elaine Middleton, 64, and carrying passengers Margaret Ely, 74, also of Hamilton, Heywood's Dianne Barr, 64, and Portland's Claudia Jackson, 72, at the intersection of Stawell-Avoca Road and Ararat-St Arnaud Road at 6pm on May 5, 2018.

The four women, who were returning home after attending a line-dancing competition in St Arnaud, died from their injuries at the scene.

A seven-day trial was held at the County Court at Ballarat before Judge Bourke in October, 2019.

The jury found Nicholson not guilty of four counts of culpable driving causing death over the quadruple fatality at Navarre on May 5, 2018, but could not reach a majority verdict on four alternative charges of dangerous driving causing death.

The jury was discharged without reaching a finding.

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This story No jail for driver in crash that killed four women first appeared on The Courier.