Woman cleared of murder after driving car into teens
A young woman has been found not guilty of murder but convicted of unlawfully killing a teenager by running him down with her car in Perth.
Aya Hishmeh, 23, stood trial in the WA Supreme Court charged with murdering 17-year-old Jacob Cummins and attempting to kill Robert Bell, Augustine Janga, Mark Kickett and Anwre Ige in Canning Vale in December 2017. The jury returned its decisions on Friday after deliberating for about half a day.
Hishmeh was also convicted of the lesser charges of committing bodily harm against Mr Bell and grievous bodily harm against the other three boys. Prosecutors alleged Hishmeh was speeding at 78km/h in a 50 zone when she mounted a kerb and struck the teenagers on a footpath in an act of vengeance. Hishmeh admitted she had been "fuming" when she learnt her younger brother had been struck in the face during a brawl between rival groups of boys at a park and her sister had later been slashed on the arm.
But she claimed her anger had weakened by the time she got behind the wheel of her car with her then-fiance sitting in the front passenger seat. Hishmeh accepted she had made the "stupid mistake" to speed, but claimed she only wanted to threaten the boys, and tell them to stay away from her family. She repeatedly cried during the trial, including while viewing a video of her police interview and when she took the stand to testify.
Hishmeh said when she failed to find Jacob's pulse she panicked. "I was in shock. I was just scared. I didn't know what was going on," she testified.
During her police interview, Hishmeh said she was angry but would never hurt anyone, although she conceded she had been suspended from school for two separate acts of violence.
"I hate horror movies, I hate watching scenes of people getting killed or whatnot, and now it's real life," she said.
A boy, who was aged 14 at the time and cannot be named, testified he had to jump out of the way to avoid the car.
"It just missed me. Then it went past me and then I yelled at the boys to move," he said.
"It looked like it was coming straight for us." The jury was also shown confronting CCTV footage of the crash. Hishmeh was remanded in custody and will face a sentencing hearing on April 17.