ACT News


Driver a prisoner at risk

The man accused of killing a woman and seriously injuring another in a stolen car in a horror crash outside Canberra Hospital has been marked a prisoner at risk.

Justin Monfries, 24, of Kambah, was still wearing hospital pyjamas and had a bandage on his head when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court this afternoon.

He faced eight charges including manslaughter, culpable driving causing death, culpable driving causing grievous bodily harm, stealing a car, and failing to stop or provide details after an accident.

Monfries did not enter pleas.

Police allege Monfries was behind the wheel of a stolen Toyota station wagon when he ran a red light on Yamba Drive at about 4.45pm yesterday, striking Linda Cox and Ashlee Bumpus as they crossed the road.

Both women were hospital employees who had just finished work.


Ms Cox died at the scene while Ms Bumpus suffered serious injuries.

Monfries allegedy failed to stop after the crash and then ploughed into another car at Hindmarsh Drive, suffering minor injuries.

Police say Monfries had also fled from another accident on Webster Street in Hughes just before he struck the two women.

Defence lawyer Sarah Boxall, of Craig Lynch & Associates, asked for the case to marked as a major matter.

She said Monfries should also be marked as a prisoner at risk because of his mental health issues.

The court heard Monfries was already due to appear in court in May and August on unrelated assault charges.

Prosecutor Travis Jackson said it would take at least six weeks to prepare the brief of evidence against Monfries.

Magistrate Peter Dingwall adjourned the matter to June and marked the defendant as a prisoner at risk.

A 38-year-old woman died at the scene, while the other was injured and was reported last night to be in a stable condition.

The driver was spotted by a Woden patrol car on Yamba Drive just before the crash.

After hitting the women, police allege the station wagon continued a short distance on Yamba Drive before crashing into another vehicle near Hindmarsh Drive.

The earlier incident in Webster Street, Hughes, was witnessed by an off-duty AFP member, who reported that the Camry had been driving erratically before the collision and had fled the scene.

Traffic Operations Superintendent Kylie Flower told The Canberra Times that the time between the two incidents was short.

"All the usual inquiries, procedures and protocols in accordance with the crash at this time have been conducted," Superintendent Flower said.

Yamba Drive was blocked last night between Kitchener Street and Hindmarsh Drive as the ACT Policing collision investigation and reconstruction team inspected the scene.

Peak-hour traffic had to be diverted.

ACT Chief Minister and Health Minister Katy Gallagher confirmed both women were employees at the hospital and were leaving work for the day when they were hit. She didn't know their exact roles at the hospital.

Counsellors roamed the hospital last night informing people of the incident and offering assistance to staff on duty. The service will continue over the next few days.

"I understand a lot of people who were on duty may have heard the accident and assisted initially in the immediate response," Ms Gallagher said.

"Obviously they've had to be replaced and staffing changes have had to occur.

"It's a pretty distressing time for everyone out there at the hospital.

"It's incredibly sad ... the Canberra Hospital is a very close-knit environment. Everyone knows everybody and they're very supportive of each other so something like this will be devastating to everybody who works at the hospital."

After more than 12 months without a road fatality, this is the second death in a week on ACT roads.

Anyone who witnessed the crash and is yet to speak to police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.