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Bikie cared for Rebels’ vest, not crash victims

The devastated father of a teenager killed by a speeding, unlicensed Rebels bikie told yesterday of the “heart-ripping, brain-torturing” grief that followed her senseless and horrific death.

Dylan James Adams was travelling at more than 40km/h over the 60km/h speed limit on his high-performance Harley-Davidson when he sped into a Forrestfield intersection “like a missile” and ploughed into Charlotte Pemberton.

Ms Pemberton, 19, was sitting in the passenger seat of her boyfriend Joshua Gallagher’s small Hyundai sedan in November 2015 when Adams’ motorcycle, which he was not licensed to drive, smashed into the door with such force it became wedged into the car.

Adams, 22, showed no concern for his victims, instead insisting the paramedics who were tending to him as he lay on the road did not cut his Rebels vest. When police asked the motorcyclist for a blood sample, he initially refused and swore at them.

Wayne and Jackie Pemberton after the verdict. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian
Wayne and Jackie Pemberton after the verdict. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Sentencing Adams to four years and three months jail yesterday on a charge of dangerous driving causing death, District Court Judge Philip McCann said the bikie was “showing off and enjoying himself” before the crash.

“Mr Adams’ behaviour was wilful and selfish in the highest possible degree,” he said. “Once he committed to this manoeuvre only luck was going to prevent a massive catastrophe with human life and safety including his own at stake. Mr Adams deliberately rolled the dice.”

Judge McCann referred to the victim impact statement written by Ms Pemberton’s father Wayne in which he likened attending the crash scene to a “nightmare” and described hugging his “dead, lifeless daughter”.

“He deals with the fact that his daughter died while the family were waiting in the next room,” he said.

“He speaks of his wife as shaking uncontrollably.

“He speaks of the horrendous sobbing.”

Charlotte’s brother Reece and father Wayne Pemberton. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian
Charlotte’s brother Reece and father Wayne Pemberton. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Outside court, Mr Pemberton told of the overwhelming pain of losing his only daughter. “We got to the hospital and the doctor says, ‘We’ve tried every-thing’, but there was nothing they could do,” he said.

“And all the things that follow — picking out your daughter’s dress, cremating your child, signing the death certificate and then you say why? Because Dylan Adams decided to pull on his throttle and race his bike through the village of Forrestfield.”

Mr Pemberton said he was disappointed with the sentence. “How does that equate to my daughter’s life,” he said. “If I could capture the emotion my family is going through, bottle that up and plug it back into him he will then feel that heart-ripping, brain-torturing emotion.

“Let him try that, carry that load through his life, he would beg for that to be switched off. Maybe that would be a worthy sentence.”

Adams’ lawyer Terry Dobson said his client, who has a long driving record, was “tormented” daily by the “havoc he’s wreaked upon family and friends and the life he’s taken away”.

Charlotte Pemberton. Picture: Supplied
Charlotte Pemberton. Picture: Supplied

Judge McCann found Adams’ remorse was “superficial”.

He said Adams’ association with his outlaw motorcycle gang meant he had “deep-seated anti-social traits” and his prospects for rehabilitation were minimal.

“I’m satisfied the offending was caused because even at the age of 21, Mr Adams had a hardened anti-authoritarian and anti-social attitude,” he said.

Adams’ licence was disqualified for three years.

He will be eligible for parole in 2019.

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