In January of 2016, Natasha Pigot, 19, was killed by a drunk driver.
Subha Anand, 29, pleaded guilty to culpable driving after hitting Pigot, who was stopped at a traffic light, at almost 30 miles per hour over the posted limit. The impact sent the Melbourne, Australia, teen’s car into oncoming traffic.
According to the Herald Sun, Anand admitted to having a blood alcohol content of 0.159 percent following the crash, more than three times the legal limit. The guilty plea, entered in June, reportedly came after the case was “stalled” when Anand became pregnant following the accident. When Anand’s baby was 3 months old, she asked to have the trial delayed because she was breastfeeding.
Pigot’s mother, Aleacha McMaster, was reportedly “unimpressed” by the reasoning for the delay. According to the Herald Sun, McMaster told reporters outside of the courtroom at the time:
“I believe that she tried to start a family, get married and to have a baby, just to try and get out of this. She didn’t want to go to court because she didn’t want to put her baby in harm’s way. But she put my baby in harm’s way — she killed my baby.”
“She needs to just be punished for what she did and that alone is enough for me.”
As the Australian Associated Press reported on November 30, Anand, who has been free on bail since the accident, appeared before a court for a pre-sentencing hearing and asked that her baby be allowed to accompany her while she serves an “inevitable” prison sentence. Anand has not yet been sentenced, but the penalty for culpable driving reportedly includes a maximum jail sentence of 20 years, according to the Daily Mail.
According to The Age, Anand expressed “anxiety” about the fate of her 9-month-old and applied to prison authorities to be allowed to care for her son while incarcerated. Anand’s defense counsel said his client was “concerned” over which way the judge would rule in the case.
Defense attorney Dermot Dann claimed Anand was “ashamed and apologetic” and “full of self-loathing” had been diagnosed with “a major depressive disorder.” Anand was taken into custody ahead of her sentencing on December 1.
Outside of court, McMaster further accused Anand of “dragging out” the court proceedings for her own “selfish purposes,” the AAP reported:
“That’s the devastating part, it all turns around about how sorry it is for her, how she’s not going to have her baby. It breaks my heart.”
Reporter: “And you don’t have yours.”
McMaster: “And I don’t have mine.”
According to the AAP, McMaster has said she doesn’t think she could “ever forgive” Anand for the actions that killed her daughter and has expressed anger over having never received a proper apology. Anand’s legal council reportedly advised their client not to say “sorry” to McMaster, although a letter of apology was read to McMaster and her family on behalf of Anand by her attorney.
According to ABC News, in the U.S., there are only a “handful” of women’s prisons that allow incarcerated mothers to keep their newborns with them, in some cases up to 18 months of age. For the approximately 2,000 women who give birth while incarcerated, their babies are removed from their care shortly thereafter.
As for McMaster, following the pre-sentencing hearing, she stood outside of the courtroom with her daughter’s picture in hand and asked: “How can I live without my baby?”
Watch the interview with McMaster below, via 9News.