Thursday, August 11, 2022

Police speak out over ‘senseless’ death of boy, 6, as father is sentenced

NZ Police has acknowledged the sentencing in relation to the death of six-year-old, Lachlan Gebhardt, who was killed in a high speed crash with his father behind the wheel in November 2019.

Niklas Gebhardt appeared in the Christchurch High Court on Wednesday, where he was sentenced to five years jail by Justice Jan-Marie Doogue. He had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

He was also disqualified from driving for seven years after his release from jail.

The court was told the 32-year-old was driving at speeds of up to 130kph when his car flew off a stopbank near Rangiora in North Canterbury, crashing into a tree 24 metres away and erupting in flames.

The road bend had an advisory speed limit sign of 25kph. The court heard that Mr Gebhardt did not brake or attempt to slow down before the crash.

“The loss of a child is an incredible tragedy and I want to commend the strength and resolve of Lachlan’s wider whānau and loved ones through this process,” said Detective Senior Sergeant Damon Wells.

“I also want to acknowledge the members of the public and frontline staff who were faced with this horrific incident and did everything they could to help.

“Finally, I want to thank the investigation team. There is no way you can investigate a case of this nature and not be affected, but they have demonstrated professionalism throughout.

“Nothing will bring Lachlan back, but it is my hope that today will bring some closure in this very sad, senseless case.”

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