Melbourne man William Wilson jailed over death of pregnant partner Helena Broadbent

A Melbourne man who drove away after fatally injuring his pregnant partner by flinging her from the cabin of his moving ute has been jailed over the death, which a judge described as “entirely avoidable”.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details some readers will find distressing.

Key points:

  • Helena Broadbent was 26 weeks pregnant when she was killed
  • The court heard William Wilson had experienced flashbacks and “chronic grief” over Ms Broadbent’s death
  • Ms Broadbent’s mother, who now cares for her daughter’s three children, told the court her body “aches” with stress

William Wilson, 38, appeared in the County Court of Victoria where he was ordered to spend three years and four months behind bars over the incident at Keilor Downs which killed his partner Helena Broadbent.

Ms Broadbent was trying to remove child safety seats while standing up in the cabin of the ute when she was catapulted from the vehicle by Wilson, who was trying to leave after a heated argument.

He later told investigators he was just trying to “get out” when he noticed his partner was no longer there.

“I thought, ‘Sweet. Let’s go let’s go while she’s f***ing not hanging onto the car,’ yeah,” he said.

Wilson pleaded guilty to several charges including dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop.

With time already served, he will be eligible for parole in less than two years.

Ms Broadbent, who was 26 weeks pregnant, died after undergoing emergency surgery to deliver her baby, but the child survived.

Helena Broadbent was pregnant with her third child when she died in 2019.(Facebook)

Judge Gerard Mullaly said her death at Wilson’s hands was unnecessary.

“You were the father of her then unborn daughter,” the judge said.

“The tragic death of Helena Broadbent was entirely avoidable if you had simply and more calmly waited until the seats were out, or at least she was out of the car, and thus she was safe, on her driveway, able then to return to the house to care for her two small children.”

Victim had called triple-0 to report threats with hammer

In September 2019, the couple were living together in Keilor Downs with their two children when a heated argument broke out.

The County Court heard the pair’s relationship had become “toxic” and it was further strained when Ms Broadbent learned Wilson had a serious gambling habit.

On the morning she died, neighbours had heard the pair arguing in the early hours.

That day, Ms Broadbent called triple-0 and told the operator that Wilson was leaving with the children’s car safety seats. She asked if she was allowed to break his window to get them.

She called again at about lunchtime and reported that Wilson had threatened to kill her, and was carrying a hammer, the court heard.

She then told the operator that she was going to try to stop Wilson from leaving with the car seats for their children.

Harrowing details emerged in court of the moments before Ms Broadbent was fatally injured, as the car began moving while she stood in the cabin of Wilson’s ute.

“He’s going to drive off with me and I’m on the car,” Ms Broadbent told the operator.

The prosecutor, Bruce Nibbs, said she was heard screaming a short time later.

“She does not make another sound after that,” Mr Nibbs said.

Security footage from the scene shows Ms Broadbent, who was trying to remove the car seats while standing on the passenger side of Wilson’s ute, being flung from the vehicle.

She is then seen lying motionless on the road.

Warning lights should have alerted Wilson to open door, judge says

The court today heard graphic accounts provided by neighbours, who witnessed the aftermath.

One neighbour heard a “really loud-pitch female scream”.

Another neighbour found Ms Broadbent on the road.

“He saw that she was bleeding 
 and couldn’t talk. She was just moaning,” the prosecutor, Mr Nibbs, said.

The 32-year-old was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital where she died after her child was delivered.

An ambulance behind police tape in Keilor Downs. Ms Broadbent suffered fatal injuries when she struck the road after falling from the ute cabin.(ABC News)

Court documents reveal that Ms Broadbent had a severe traumatic brain injury and died less than two hours after arriving in the intensive care unit.

Judge Mullaly said Ms Broadbent “hit the road with fatal force” and told the court that Wilson left the scene, stopping only briefly to fix his child’s car seat and put it back onto the rear seat.

“You then got back in and drove off,” the judge said.

“You did not return to where your partner was motionless on the road with what turned out to be fatal injuries.”

The court heard that there were audible alarms and dashboard warnings flashing during the incident because the door of Wilson’s ute was open.

“No doubt you knew or ought to have known the rear door was not closed,” Judge Mullaly said.

‘I’ll never see my daughter grow old with her children’

Today Helena Broadbent’s mother, Tracie Broadbent, told the court Wilson had “destroyed” her soul and left her as the guardian to three small grandchildren.

“Some days my body aches so much from the stress of it [that] I can barely walk,” she said, in an impact statement read by the prosecutor.

“I think about the fact that I’ll never see my daughter grow old with her children. She won’t get to see them grow up.

“Every day when I look at the grandchildren, I see Helena and the accident.”

She said her youngest granddaughter was still being monitored by doctors.

Wilson was arrested later that night and told investigators that he saw his dead partner running next to the car.

“She’s like, ‘I want the car seats, I want the car seats,’ screaming at the top of her voice,” Wilson said.

“I’ve got to the end of the court and she’s still there, and as I’ve turned the corner I noticed that she tripped over.

“I didn’t speed up, nothing like that.”

His lawyer today extended an apology on his behalf.

The court heard Wilson, who has since been diagnosed with a severe major depressive disorder, has flashbacks and “chronic grief”.

He has already served 130 days behind bars.

Posted 2h ago2 hours agoFri 10 Jun 2022 at 4:36am, updated 56m ago56 minutes agoFri 10 Jun 2022 at 5:50am