Melbourne man William Wilson jailed over death of pregnant partner Helena Broadbent
A Melbourne man who fled after fatally injuring his pregnant partner by throwing her out of the cabin of his moving vehicle has been jailed over the death, which a judge described as ‘entirely preventable’.
WARNING: This story contains graphic detail that some readers may find distressing.
- Helena Broadbent was 26 weeks pregnant when she was killed
- Court heard William Wilson experienced flashbacks and ‘chronic grief’ following Ms Broadbent’s death
- Ms Broadbent’s mother, who now cares for her daughter’s three children, told the court her body was ‘hurting’ from the stress
William Wilson, 38, appeared in Victoria County Court where he was sentenced to three years and four months behind bars for the Keilor Downs incident which killed his partner Helena Broadbent.
Ms Broadbent was trying to remove the child safety seats as she stood in the cabin of the ute when she was thrown from the vehicle by Wilson, who was trying to leave after a heated argument.
He later told investigators he was just trying to “get out” when he noticed his partner was gone.
“I was like, ‘Honey. Let’s go, let’s go while she’s not hanging on to the car,’ yeah,” he said.
Wilson pleaded guilty to several charges, including dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop.
With a sentence already served, he will be eligible for parole in less than two years.
Ms Broadbent, who was 26 weeks pregnant, died after undergoing emergency surgery to deliver her baby, but the child survived.
Judge Gerard Mullaly said his death at the hands of Wilson was unnecessary.
“You were the father of his then unborn daughter,” Judge said.
“Helena Broadbent’s tragic death was entirely preventable if you had simply and more calmly waited until the seats were out, or at least until she was out of the car, and therefore safe, in her driveway, then able to return home to take care of her two small children.
The victim had called triple-0 to report threats with a hammer
In September 2019, the couple were living together in Keilor Downs with their two children when a heated argument broke out.
County Court heard the couple’s relationship had become ‘toxic’ and it became further strained when Ms Broadbent learned Wilson had a serious gambling habit.
On the morning of his death, neighbors had heard the couple arguing in the early hours.
That day, Ms Broadbent called triple-0 and told the operator that Wilson was leaving with the child safety seats. She asked if she had the right to break her window to get them.
She called back around lunchtime and reported that Wilson had threatened to kill her and was carrying a hammer, the court heard.
She then told the operator that she was going to try to stop Wilson from leaving with the car seats for their children.
Heartbreaking details emerged in court moments before Ms Broadbent was fatally injured, as the car began to move as she stood in the cabin of Wilson’s ute.
“He’s going to leave with me and I’m in the car,” Ms Broadbent told the operator.
Prosecutor Bruce Nibbs said she was heard screaming shortly afterwards.
“She doesn’t make any noise after that,” Mr Nibbs said.
Security footage from the scene shows Ms Broadbent, who attempted to remove the car seats as she stood on the passenger side of Wilson’s ute, thrown out of the vehicle.
We then see her lying motionless on the road.
Warning lights should have alerted Wilson to open door, judge says
The court today heard graphic accounts provided by neighbours, who witnessed the aftermath.
A neighbor heard a “very loud female cry”.
Another neighbor found Mrs. Broadbent on the road.
“He saw she was bleeding … and couldn’t speak. She was just moaning,” prosecutor Mr Nibbs said.
The 32-year-old was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital where she died after giving birth to her child.
Court documents reveal Ms Broadbent suffered severe head trauma and died less than two hours after arriving in the intensive care unit.
Judge Mullaly said Ms Broadbent ‘hit the road with lethal force’ and told the court that Wilson left the scene, only stopping briefly to fix her child’s car seat and put it back in the seat back.
“You then came back and left,” the judge said.
“You did not return to where your partner was immobile in the road with what turned out to be fatal injuries.”
The court heard there were audible alarms and flashing dashboard warnings during the incident because the door to Wilson’s ute was open.
“You probably knew or should have known that the back door was not closed,” Judge Mullaly said.
“I will never see my daughter grow old with her children”
Today Helena Broadbent’s mother, Tracie Broadbent, told the court Wilson had ‘destroyed’ her soul and left her as guardian to three grandchildren.
“Some days my body hurts so much from the stress [that] I can barely walk,” she said in an impact statement read by the prosecutor.
“I think about the fact that I will never see my daughter grow old with her children. She will not be able to see them grow up.
She said her youngest granddaughter was still being watched by doctors.
Wilson was arrested later that night and told investigators he saw his dead partner running beside the car.
“She’s like, ‘I want the car seats, I want the car seats,’ screaming her head off,” Wilson said.
“I got to the end of the pitch and she’s still there, and as I turned the corner I noticed she had tripped.
“I didn’t speed up, nothing like that.”
His lawyer today issued an apology on his behalf.
The court heard Wilson, who has since been diagnosed with severe major depressive disorder, has flashbacks and “chronic grief”.
He has already served 130 days behind bars.
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