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Longer prison term for killer WA driver

A West Australian appeals court has increased the prison sentence given to a career criminal who killed a five-year-old boy when he crashed a stolen car into a family’s van.

Matthew David Molloy had been driving at about 96km/h in a 70 zone before the rear-end crash in Perth in December 2018.

The collision shunted the front of the van, which had been stopped at a red light, underneath a truck

Leonardis Tjandra died after suffering catastrophic head trauma, while six family members including his six-year-old brother Fransiskus were seriously injured.

Molloy, then aged 36, was disqualified from driving for life at the time of the crash and had spent most of his adult life in prison.

The WA District Court heard he did not take any evasive action, fled the scene and called his mother to pick him up nearby.

Molloy pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and was jailed by Judge Bruce Goetze for seven years and six months, a term the victim’s father said was vastly inadequate.

On Wednesday, the WA Court of Appeal set aside the initial decision and resentenced Molloy to 10 years in prison.

He will be eligible for parole after serving eight years.

Supreme Court Justice Michael Buss said the original sentence was substantially less than the maximum available term.

Molloy’s history of stealing cars and his “wilful disregarding” of his lifetime driving disqualification meant significant weight should have been given to personal deterrence and protecting vulnerable community members, Justice Buss said.

Leonardis’s father Edwin Tjandra had called for Molloy to receive the maximum sentence for dangerous driving causing death of 20 years.

In an emotional victim impact statement, Dr Tjandra said his life had been ruined.

“There is no happiness in the house. It is quiet now – no different to a cemetery,” he said.

Dr Tjandra said his other son had asked “why he could not die as well”.

The court heard the victims still suffered from their injuries including suicidal thoughts, broken teeth and the need for further surgery.

Molloy’s dysfunctional childhood included being taught by his father to inject heroin at age 13.

He took the drug the day before the crash, having relapsed after being released from jail just over a month prior.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts said she was pleased the sentence had been increased.

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