A Perth mother who was caught driving with her four-year-son clinging to the roof of her car has been handed a fine and lost her driver’s licence.
Erica Shadforth pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the Armadale Magistrates Court to charges of driving dangerously and failing to ensure that a child was properly restrained, reports ABC.
The mother-of-six was charged in January after other motorists spotted her driving along Tonkin Highway, where speeds can reach up to 100 kilometres per hour, with the boy in a roof basket as she travelled between Camillo in the Perth’s south-east to the nearby suburb of Harrisdale.
Shocked motorists tried to flag her down, but to no avail and many called police to report the incident. Shadforth eventually pulled over and removed the boy from the roof and put him back inside the car.
The court heard on Tuesday that the woman didn’t realise her son had climbed onto the roof and had assumed he was still in the car with her two-year-old girl and a two-month-old boy.
It was 18 minutes before other motorists caught her attention prompting her to pull over. When she put the boy back inside the car she left him unrestrained.
Police soon caught up with her at a petrol station on Nicholson Road, Harrisdale, where they found three children in the back of the car.
Shadforth’s lawyer argued that the incident was out of character for the mother and that she had only recently moved to Perth to try to give her six children a better life. Her husband was working away in Broome at the time and she was having a difficult time trying to manage them on her own.
Magistrate Steven Malley accepted that the offences were not an “act of ill will” but rather “carelessness in the extreme”.
He handed Shadforth a fine of $1,200 and stripped her of her driver’s licence for three months.
Footage of the incident went viral around the country when it surfaced in January, with most shocked by what they saw.
Witnesses offered conflicting accounts to local media at the time with one person telling Nine News “[the child] seemed fine and looked like he was enjoying himself” while others said they felt “sick to the stomach” by what they had seen.