A professional truck driver responsible for the crash on Appin Road that killed Illawarra school teacher Melissa Bond has penned a heartfelt letter to her family and friends, saying her death will remain with him forever.
Christopher Childs, a 46-year-old meat delivery driver from the Shoalhaven on the NSW south coast, was returning from his last delivery on the afternoon of March 21, 2016 when his refrigerated truck collided head-on with Ms Bond's Holden sedan on the notorious stretch of road between Campbelltown and Appin.
Ms Bond, a PE teacher at John Therry Catholic High School in Rosemeadow, suffered serious head injuries and died at the scene.
"I am so sorry for your loss, I'm so sorry for what happened to Melissa," Childs said in a handwritten letter addressed to the Bond family and witnessed exclusively by Fairfax Media.
"My actions have taken a beautiful human being and soul from you all, all too soon.
"Melissa had her whole life ahead of her with all you and now she is no longer able to walk amongst you or be there for you or touch you. I'm so sorry for what I have taken from you all."
The letter formed part of a bundle of documents tendered to Campbelltown District Court during sentencing proceedings last Friday following Childs' earlier plea of guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death.
On Tuesday, Judge David Arnott sentenced Childs to at least six months behind bars, finding his "momentary inattention [and] failure to maintain proper control of his vehicle" had caused the crash.
He also disqualified Childs from holding a driver's licence for three years (Childs has reportedly told treating psychiatrist he never wants to get behind the wheel of a car again).
Outside court, Ms Bond's mother Amanda declined to comment on Childs' sentence, but thanked the communities of Thirroul and Rosemeadow for their ongoing support.
"Today's decision doesn't actually change anything for our family, we still live with this every day," she said.
"It's just a reminder to people to pay attention on the road, that the consequences [of not paying attention] can be severe and unfortunately for our family, we're the ones who are paying the price for this."
Christopher Childs' letter to the Bond family
To Mr and Mrs Bond, family and Melissa's friends,
I am so sorry for your loss, I'm so sorry for what happened to Melissa.
My actions have taken a beautiful human being and soul from you all, all too soon.
Melissa had her whole life ahead of her with all you and now she is no longer able to walk amongst you or be there for you or touch you. I'm so sorry for what I have taken from you all.
I feel so hopeless, the pain and grief that will always be carried by those who knew her.
Everyone of you had you own special relationship with her. I think of Melissa and try to imagine what she would have been doing on any given day, all the kids she could be teaching and making this world a better place.
My eyes fill up with tear drops when I lay down thinking of her, the love you have for her.
I will always remember what I have done to Melissa for the rest of my life, how this has hurt so many people who have to now live their lives without her.
This hurts me to know how you will never hear her voice or feel her love and warmth anymore. You cannot reach out and embrace her and kiss her, I'm lost for words.
I cannot imagine what this must feel like. I'm so sorry. It's heartfelt to know this, to live this for life.
I'm deeply saddened by the loss of Melissa, she will be truly missed.