A teenager has been taken into custody after he admitted causing the deaths of five school students, who were killed when his ute slammed into two trees.
Tyrell Edwards, 19, pleaded guilty in Picton Local Court to five counts of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death after the high-speed tragedy at Buxton, southwest of Sydney, on September 6 last year.
The provisional licence holder was behind the wheel of a silver Nissan Navara utility that had been speeding for two hours before it crashed, killing five Picton High School students crammed into the vehicle.
Lily Van De Putte and Gabby McLennan, both 14, Summer Williams and Tyrese Bechard, both 15, and Antonio Desisto, 16, all died at the scene.
Edwards suffered minor injuries.
"The aggravated dangerous driving was particularly egregious in that it was dangerous driving repeated over a period of time ultimately leading to the loss of control of the vehicle," Magistrate David Degnan said on Thursday.
Mr Degnan acknowledged the pain of the "tragic incident" for family members attending.
"I'm cognisant of the fact there are many members of the victims' families and friends here at court. And I acknowledge the loss that they have suffered."
Five lesser charges of dangerous driving occasioning death were withdrawn.
After the guilty pleas, Edward's solicitor Karen Watson unsuccessfully opposed an application by prosecutors to revoke her client's bail and send him into custody.
Ms Watson argued Edwards needed to remain out of jail to undergo psychiatric treatment for PTSD and major depressive disorder caused after the crash.
Mr Degnan found this did not amount to special or exceptional circumstances which could allow Edwards to stay out on bail given he would definitely face a full-time prison sentence.
The courtroom was then closed and family members of the victims asked to leave before Edwards was escorted to a waiting police vehicle.
Before the accident, the teen was driving at speeds of up to 147km/h, used his phone to record himself swerving the vehicle from left to right, and overtook a car travelling at the speed limit by driving on the wrong side of the road.
He lost control of the ute travelling at 118km/h in a 60km/h zone, it slammed into one tree, rebounded, spun backwards and slammed into another. This second collision tore open the rear cabin, throwing four of the five children onto the ground.
Neighbours heard a "massive explosion" and raced to the scene where they saw Edwards climb out of the wreckage.
"I'm gonna go to jail. I can't go to jail. I don't want to go to jail," he was heard saying.
He later told police he had picked up Antonio, Gabby, Tyrese and Summer but had no idea how Lily ended up in his car.
He claimed the vehicle had experienced shaking previously, saying it would randomly pick up speed.
Forensic checks showed no defects that could have contributed to the crash.
Drugs and alcohol were also not detected in Edwards' blood or urine.
Outside court, Lily's father John Van De Putte said he and the other parents could not move forwards with their lives and were living that tragic day over and over again.
"I wake up every morning thinking about (Lily) and go to sleep thinking about her. It's going to be in my mind every day," he said.
"It's something we will never get over."
Mr Van De Putte said traffic laws needed to be tougher and parents needed to speak to their kids about safety while behind the wheel.
Edwards, who will now face sentencing, has no prior criminal history but has had his licence suspended twice before for speeding, copping a $285 fine on each occasion.
The case will return to Campbelltown District Court on August 24.
Australian Associated Press
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