ACT News

Jailed hit-and-run driver Justin Monfries dead

Justin Monfries killed Linda Cox when he hit her while running a red light in a stolen car.
Justin Monfries killed Linda Cox when he hit her while running a red light in a stolen car. Photo: Facebook

The drunk driver who killed hospital worker Linda Cox in a horror hit and run outside Canberra Hospital has died while serving his time. 

Justin Monfries, 26, died on Wednesday after being transferred to hospital from Alexander Maconochie Centre, where he was serving a 13-year sentence. 

It is understood Monfries died of cystic fibrosis, and spent time in the hospital where his victims worked.

Monfries was on bail and was evading police in a stolen car in 2012 when he crashed into mother-of-two Linda Cox, 38, and Ashlee Bumpus, then 25.

Mrs Cox was killed instantly and Ms Bumpus suffered multiple fractures to her legs.

Ms Bumpus said she had mixed emotions after learning of the death of Monfries.


"You never wish for someone to die, no matter what the circumstances are," she said on Friday. "But it is a bit of a relief that, if he was going to get out, he won't be able to hurt anyone else."

Ms Bumpus and Mrs Cox, a much-loved cardiac technician, were crossing Yamba Drive after finishing a shift at the  hospital. 

They had waited for the green pedestrian light, but Monfries ran a red light and hit them at speed. 

He had hot-wired and stolen the car from a car park in Manuka and committed a number of crimes before running the red light on Yamba Drive.

He kept driving after hitting the pair but crashed into another car down the road. Police arrested him after he tried to flee on foot. 

Monfries pleaded guilty to culpable driving causing death and culpable driving causing grievous bodily harm, and was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison by Justice John Nield last year.

He had an extensive criminal history, which included previous high-speed car chases. As he was led away in handcuffs from the trial, Mrs Cox's husband Jamie told him to "rot you b-----d". 

Mr Cox had spoken earlier of his hatred for his wife's killer in an emotional victim impact statement.

The earliest Monfries could have been released was in January 2022.

There will be a a coronial inquest into his death, as happens with all deaths in custody.

Monfries recently lost an appeal against his sentence, after arguing it was excessive.

He said he was not given enough discount for his guilty pleas, his punishment didn't match similar cases, his mental health wasn't considered properly and he was treated too harshly for the stolen car offence.

The ACT Court of Appeal rejected his appeal, with two of the three judges finding against him.