The scene of an early morning car crash on the corner of Sydney Road and Lorne Street Fawkner in which a taxi driver was killed. Picture: Andrew Henshaw.
The scene of an early morning car crash on the corner of Sydney Road and Lorne Street Fawkner in which a taxi driver was killed. Picture: Andrew Henshaw.

Woman who caused deadly crash was ‘psychotic’

A WOMAN who caused the death of a taxi driver when she sped through an intersection dressed in her pyjamas was mentally unstable at the time, a Melbourne court has been told.

Natasha Karishma Sanyasi pleaded guilty in the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday to culpable driving causing the death of 32-year-old Pakistan national Dilawer Shah.

The court was told that in the early hours of July 16, 2016, Sanyasi left her new boyfriend at a motor inn after he declined to drive to Adelaide with her. She drove at 137km/h through a red light at the intersection of Sydney Road and Lorne Street at Fawkner before she "T-boned" the taxi, which was turning right. Prosecutor Charlotte Duckett said a witness described Mr Shah's taxi as airborne and rotating 180 degrees before crashing into the fence of an unoccupied construction site.

Paramedics arrived at 5.02am and pulled Mr Shah from the car but were unable to revive him.

Sanyasi was unharmed but appeared dishevelled and was wearing pyjamas, Ms Duckett added.

Paramedics said Sanyasi climbed into the back of an ambulance and became aggressive when asked to get out.

"She suffered no physical injuries but was admitted as an involuntary psychiatric patient," Ms Duckett said.

Sanyasi had small amounts of alcohol, cannabis, sedative and painkillers in her blood when tested.

The scene of an early morning car crash on the corner of Sydney Road and Lorne Street Fawkner in which a taxi driver was killed. Picture: Andrew Henshaw.
The scene of an early morning car crash on the corner of Sydney Road and Lorne Street Fawkner in which a taxi driver was killed. Picture: Andrew Henshaw.

Psychologist Harvey Abbott told the court Sanyasi "was clearly psychotic" at the time of the incident, with an ongoing borderline personality disorder exacerbated by cannabis use.

Sanyasi allegedly told police she was given the drug GHB and raped just prior to the collision, that her boyfriend wanted to marry her, and that she thought she was pregnant and miscarrying.

Mr Abbott also said Sanyasi had previously thought at times that "the television was talking to her".

"It seemed like her mental health was deteriorating quite rapidly leading up to the incident," he said.

Mr Abbott said Sanyasi tried to take her own life in August and thereafter suffered severe pain in her legs.

Psychiatrist Vasilija Kojadinovic said Sanyasi had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, substance use disorder and a history of post traumatic stress disorder resulting from childhood abuse.

Sanyasi, who is on bail, has pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis and driving an unregistered car.

The pre-sentence hearing continues on Wednesday.

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Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

Emergency services rushed to the scene but it was too late for the taxi driver who died. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Emergency services rushed to the scene but it was too late for the taxi driver who died. Picture: Andrew Henshaw