Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Jailed Driver Pays Tribute to Mate He Killed in Crash

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Jailed Driver Pays Tribute to Mate He Killed in Crash

Article excerpt

AN ABRIDGED version of a letter hastily scrawled the day before he was sentenced to seven years in jail for killing his friend in a car crash, gives insight into Andrew George Johnson's distress over the tragic incident. Johnson's letter was tendered to Judge Moynihan during sentencing in Maroochydore District Court on July 27.

Sunday 26/7/15

Your Honour,

I wish to begin with a statement indicating my repulsion at having caused the death of my friend Antony Stabler. I have never consciously caused physical harm to anyone let alone a close friend and my part in his death has left me feeling ... unworthy of civilised company. The fact that he suffered at my hands whilst I was under the influence of alcohol makes his death seem even more sordid and cheap. A feeling I have for myself a lot of the time now.

Antony was my dear friend for over 25 years. He was an exceptional man. Despite his not having any formal higher education, he was one of the brightest men I have ever met. He was the person to whom I could, and did, confide in when I felt no-one else would be able to grasp the subtleties. He was my solid foundation over the years when I had run off the rails and I for him when he was in difficulties. I cannot over-estimate the symbiosis we had. Antony was a tear-away kind of chap. He lived a full life and, when a younger man, was a veritable force of nature. His domestic life suffered somewhat from his falseness but he was loved by all. He lived in a housing commission unit in Mooloolaba that was part of a complex that was supposed to be for older persons only. The Dept. began moving younger, troubled people in over the years and, unfortunately, they gravitated to Tony for help, advice, mentoring etc.. Antony contacted me in Melbourne as he was terribly depressed. He had basically stopped taking all the substances he used to take and as he had no intercourse with the neighbours any more he was a bit lonely. I came up and moved in and typed my thesis and we lived like an elderly couple. This went on for a few months and we decided to make a go of doing it long-term. We went on an exploratory trip to Stanthorpe to some old friends of mine and they agreed to sell us a block of land we could pay off which had an old cottage on it. …

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