The wife of a scientist killed in a horror hit-and-run has told the court of the moment she saw the man she loved thrown 20 yards by the drunken father of a former MP.
Kenneth Wayne Grant, 73, faces jail after being found guilty last year of drunkenly running over another reveler following a Christmas party in late 2019.
He was found guilty by a NSW District Court judge of dangerous driving resulting in the death of 62-year-old Tony Greenfield after he claimed at trial that he was sleepwalking at the time of the crash.
The court found Grant – the father of former NSW Police Minister Troy Grant – was drunk when he drove and knocked down Mr Greenfield in Bolwarra, near Maitland, on November 30, 2019.
The court was told that Grant, a former police officer, recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.194 at Maitland Hospital after his arrest.
Despite efforts to resuscitate him, Mr Greenfield died after being rushed to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.
The court was told that after fatally hitting Mr Greenfield with his Mazda ute, Grant was involved in a police chase in which he failed to stop despite officers activating their lights and their sirens.
Kenneth Grant is at risk of being sent to prison for a drunk and hit-and-run accident. Photo: AAP Image/Darren Pateman.
When he finally came to a stop, Grant’s vehicle was damaged and smoke billowed from one of its rear tires.
He was found in the front driver’s seat, and at that time he knew he had hit a pedestrian.
The two officers who arrested him recalled him saying words like “my son is Troy Grant, the police minister and I’m pissed.”
Mr Greenfield’s wife, Nerida Greenfield, has made a heartbreaking statement about the impact of the victim and described the horrific moment she was walking alongside her husband when he was suddenly thrown into the air and killed .
She described how grief had spread through her family, friends and the scientific community following Mr Greenfield’s death.
Grant, watching via video link, closed his eyes and stared at the floor as Ms Greenfield read a powerful victim impact statement in court.
Ms Greenfield said she continually replayed the incident in her mind and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It will be etched in my brain for the rest of my life,” she said during Grant’s sentencing hearing on Friday.
“It starts with a terrible noise so loud it stops me dead.
“The wind is rushing from both sides of me, it’s like a wind tunnel. It takes a second to realize it’s caused by a car.
“It brushes so close to my right side that I can almost feel it.
“At the same time, I see something flying in the air on my left. In the air, soft as a rag doll.
“It hits the ground 20 meters in front of me, that’s when I realize it’s Tony. I can’t believe it’s him, but I look behind me and he’s gone.
Ms Greenfield said she never thought she would be able to enjoy a walk again and was constantly worried about being hit by passing motorists.
“I’m always aware that it could be another driver like him – drunk, out of control and ready to run off the road and kill me,” she said.
She also refuted Grant’s claims at trial that they were friends, saying Mr Greenfield “would have no idea” who he was and denied ever meeting him.
Grant was convicted of dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop and help and failing to stop during a police pursuit.
Troy Grant said his father expressed remorse and a desire to trade his life for Mr Greenfield.
He told the court that his father started abusing alcohol in the late 1970s after a traumatic experience when he was held hostage and tortured in the line of duty while trying to apprehend four murderers who had escaped from prison.
“They jumped on him and he was kidnapped and tortured and suffered significant physical and mental health issues,” Troy Grant told the court.
“So I saw this physical change when I was a young child – he had his back broken, they chewed off his ear and played Russian roulette with him and threatened to kill him throughout the test.”
Grant’s lawyer, Phillip Boulten, said his client would be better off serving his sentence in the community via an intensive correctional order, arguing he would be targeted in jail because his son was a former police minister and that he was vulnerable because of Covid.
Grant will be sentenced later this year.