This Victim Impact statement was written by Meg and read in person at Raymond Terrace Court House on the 24th of June 2005. A framed, colour photo of Harrison was allowed to be viewed.
My name is Meg. I’m here today to deliver this impact statement in relation to the motor vehicle accident I was involved in on the 12th December 2003.
Christmas 2003 was to be a special time for me and my family. We were eagerly awaiting the arrival of my second child. Harrison was to be born by Caesarean section at the John Hunter Hospital on the 23rd December 2003. I expected to be in hospital for Christmas therefore my family had planned an early Christmas celebration. This was to be held at my parent’s home at Anna Bay. They tell me Dad had the house lit up like a Christmas tree for the four grandchildren arriving on the weekend. All the presents were wrapped, food prepared and everyone was in high spirits.
On Thursday the 11th December 2003 I attended my last appointment with the Midwife at the John Hunter Hospital. All was going well with the pregnancy and I was thirty eight and a half weeks. I was so excited believing I would be holding my son in my arms in twelve days time.
On the morning of the 12th December 2003 my daughter Hayley and I left Charlestown and drove towards Anna Bay. Tragically we ended up at a completely different destination to the one we had planned. Our lives were changed forever.
The Westpac helicopter transported Hayley and myself to the John Hunter Hospital after the motor vehicle accident. I don’t think I will ever be able to forget that whilst lying in the Emergency department, the doctor’s saying to me ‘we have completed an ultrasound and cannot detect your baby’s heartbeat’.
I was in surgery for most of the afternoon on the 12th December 2003. Harrison was delivered by caesarean section. He was “still born”. The orthopaedic surgeon then worked on my right arm and inserted a permanent ten-hole plate, and then the surgeon wired my right wrist. I was able to hold my son that night. What a bitter-sweet experience this was. The plans I had made for Harrison will never happen.
Harrison was baptised on the 13th December 2003 and I believe he is in God’s care.
On the 15th December 2003 Dr Phillip Woodford a Forensic Pathologist at the John Hunter Hospital completed my son’s autopsy. It was submitted to the court. The first finding he documented reads ‘Term male infant’. As a result of the motor vehicle accident there was ‘placental abruption’ and Harrison had ‘massive head injuries’.
My son’s funeral was held at the John Hunter Hospital Chapel on the 23RD December. The choice of venue for the funeral was limited due to my lack of mobility because of my injuries. This was Harrison’s anticipated birth date. The Paddington bear outfit I had bought to take my son home in, he wore to his funeral.
As a result of the motor vehicle accident on the 12th December 2003 my own injuries included:
A fractured right Ulna (wrist)
Fractured left 1st, 2nd and 9th ribs
Right lung contusions
Fractured right fibula (lower leg)
Fractured right transverse processes L-1 and L-4 (back)
Fractured left pubic rami (pelvis)
Penetrating injury to right eye
Due to the impact of the motor vehicle accident I suffered a large Haematoma to my right thigh. Approximately one and a half weeks after the surgery on my arm, I developed a blood clot and pneumonia. Due to the clot I was prescribed Warfarin medication and the haematoma on my thigh was not able to be operated on until August 2004 – eight months later.
As a result of my extensive injuries from the motor vehicle accident I was hospitalised for seven and a half weeks. This was very frustrating for me especially when I could not get down to play with my daughter. My parents managed to keep Hayley’s routine as normal as possible and nearly everyday bought her to the hospital to visit me. For five weeks after the accident Hayley would pull away from me when my dad held her up to give me a cuddle in the hospital bed. It wasn’t until I was up in a wheelchair that Hayley started to give me the physical close contact I so needed from my little girl.
When I was discharged from the Royal Newcastle Hospital Hayley and I went to live with my parents at Anna Bay. My parents drove me to medical appointments, cared for Hayley, did all my domestic work and never complained for one moment. In August 2004 Hayley and I moved home to Charlestown. I still have Harrison’s belongings stored at home as I have not been able to let go and make a decision about what to do with them.
I am a qualified Chef by trade and a Diploma level trained Child Care Worker. I have been employed at a long day centre since 2000. I began studying for a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) by correspondence the same year. One day I hope to be teaching in a kindergarten classroom.
Because of this long drawn out court case, ongoing medical appointments and treatments I have been unable to apply myself to my studies this year. For the first time I have failed a unit.
As a result of my injuries I will never work as a full time Chef again. My lower back is permanently painful and I cannot work in a kitchen for more than one shift at a time. My right knee often gives way and I experience sharp pain quite often, especially when I kneel on the floor to work with children. My right thigh occasionally aches where the haematoma was removed. I am also self conscious of the permanent scarring on my thigh from the operation. I am always on guard when working with children because they can move so quickly and sometimes run into my leg. I try to protect it, always.
I often feel cheated and resentful when I see children of whom I know were born around the time Harrison was due. I think of all the developmental milestones Harrison would be achieving and I have a hard time dealing with this.
I also wonder what Hayley would be like as an older sister to Harrison over the last eighteen months I have had to return to the John Hunter Hospital for further surgery, ongoing treatment and appointments with Doctors. I expect I will need more surgery in the future. When I walk into the foyer at the hospital I look into that peaceful chapel and but I recall my son’s tiny white coffin sitting on the altar.
I am proud of who I am and I have come a long way in the last eighteen months. My family and friends have given their love, time and strength to assist both mine and Hayley’s recovery and I love them very much. I miss my son dearly and think about him everyday.
I will never forget holding Harrison in my arms.
This experience has assisted me to grow spiritually and I have great comfort in knowing I will meet with my son again one day
To my knowledge the accused has not (even through his solicitor) attempted to enquire as to the recovery or wellbeing of myself or my daughter Hayley.
Therefore I can only conclude that he has shown no remorse over what has happened.
I would like to finish with a poem of which was read at my son Harrison’s funeral on the 23rd December 2003.
ALL THOSE MONTHS
by Margaret Cordukes
Your little heart beating so strongly
All those months
Your arms and legs
Moving so vigorously
Milk falling like tears from your Mother’s breasts
Will never nourish you
Your little eyes will never sparkle
Your little voice forever silent
Your mother holds you in her arms
Timidly kisses your soft cheek
Caresses your tiny fingers
And whispers your name with tears
She dreams of holding you
Of watching you smile and grow
Her love is always with you
Although you will never know.