She might be in a different state, but Warnambool author Monique Patterson has reached out to Dubbo's Kevin Saul in her latest book.
Ms Patterson's Tears for Tyler raises awareness for the injustices in some of Australia's car crime laws in her latest true crime novel.
Tears for Tyler is the story of Winchelsea teenager Tyler Dean who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in 2017.
His mother Jeynelle Dean-Hayes has been interviewed throughout the book. She, along with her husband Josh Hayes, discovered there were other grieving parents who had experienced injustice when it came to car crimes.
One of those people was Dubbo's Kevin Saul, whose nine-year-old son, Brendan, was killed by an unlicenced driver in Dubbo in January 2004 when he was riding his bike.
Ms Patterson said Mrs Dean-Hayes was "amazed at his persistence" lobbying for tougher hit-and-run penalties in the state.
She said Mr Saul was incensed when the charges against the unlicensed youth, with drugs in his system, at the wheel of a car that hit and killed his son, were thrown out.
"I found him to be a very kind and humble man who, like Jeynelle and Josh, had been victims of a system that more often than not gives hit-and-run offenders a slap on the wrist," Ms Patterson said.
"[Mr Saul] said this was a slap in the face because he always taught his children about right and wrong."
A chapter in the book is dedicated to discussing Mr Saul's efforts after the incident which led to legislative changes in NSW.
Brendan's Law, came into force in February 2006, and imposes harsher maximum penalties on hit-and-run drivers.
Ms Patterson researched and wrote the true crime novel across four months amid the coronavirus pandemic and became aware of Tyler's story after his uncle Christopher Dean spoke out in 2018.
"In doing research for Tears for Tyler I was absolutely shocked by the dozens of cases where people just get off with a slap of the wrist," Ms Patterson said.
She said Mr Dean brought to her attention that the person who killed his nephew was still allowed to drive while on bail, and the family were appalled by this and couldn't believe the law allowed this to happen.
"He said to me if you kill someone with a gun, you don't get the gun given back to you," Ms Patterson said.
"I, like Jeynelle and Josh, hope that the book will raise awareness about flaws in Australia's car crime laws and drive change.
"There are too many families who have lost loved ones and the person who has killed them has walked free or been given a very short jail sentence or a fine."
Tears for Tyler was released in September and follows Ms Patterson's first book United in Grief which was released in February.
"Two books in one year has been a lot and I am writing a third at the moment," she said.
"It is certainly a juggle, especially with a 10-year-old, Cael, who has been home-schooled due to the coronavirus pandemic and a two-year-old, Jaxon.
"Luckily my fiance Bill has been very supportive and given me the time I need to write."
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