April 22, 2010 / 7:22 AM / 10 years ago

Australian woman jailed over cheeseball murder

CANBERRA (Reuters) - An Australian woman who ran down and killed a man who threw cheese-flavoured snacks at her car was jailed Thursday for 25 years.

Sydney woman Sarah May Ward intended to injure Eli Westlake for throwing the snacks at her vehicle, judge Roderick Howie told the New South Wales Supreme Court, describing the 21-year-old’s murder as “a senseless act of anger.”

“She clearly wanted to teach the young men a lesson,” the Australian Associated Press quoted judge Howie as saying as he sentenced Ward to jail for a minimum 18 years.

The jury was told Ward, 39, had drunk two bottles of wine and used cannabis, amphetamine drugs and anti-depressants before getting into her car in Sydney’s northern suburbs on June 7, 2008.

She decided impulsively to use the vehicle as a weapon after Westlake threw the snacks at her car as a joke while walking home with his brother and a group of friends.

The judge said while there was more involved than Westlake’s brother and friends claimed, an “incensed” Ward had driven directly at Westlake after a brief physical altercation with the group, running him over and killing him.

Ward told the court she had been scared of the group and hit the car’s accelerator by mistake while trying to get away.

Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Miral Fahmy

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