23 May 2023

UPDATE: Speeding driver who killed Harri Jokinen on Monaro Highway imprisoned for at least seven years

| Albert McKnight
Start the conversation
father and daughter

Harri Jokinen, pictured with his eldest daughter, Lisa Jokinen. Photo: Supplied.

UPDATE: A driver who was speeding along the Monaro Highway when he caused the crash which killed Harri Jokinen has been sentenced to more than 10 years jail.

Marc Anthony Jessop was handed a maximum sentence of 10 years and 8 months at Queanbeyan Local Court, backdated to 1 June, 2022.

He’ll have to serve at least seven years behind bars, becoming eligible for parole on 31 January, 2033.

A sentence discount of 25 per cent was applied due to his guilty pleas.

He’s also been disqualified from driving for five years.

MAY 17: A court has heard of the heartbreak left behind when a speeding driver, who was fleeing police, killed 56-year-old Harri Jokinen on the Monaro Highway.

Horrifying footage, which was taken from police cars and screened to the NSW District Court on Wednesday (17 May), captured the crash on the morning of 30 December 2021.

Marc Anthony Jessop had been speeding along the highway so he could get to Canberra to buy drugs, then fled from police when they spotted him.

He was filmed trying to drive a stolen Holden Commodore down the middle of the road between a ute and an oncoming van when he crashed into them both, sending all three vehicles flying off to the sides of the road.

The driver of the van, Mr Jokinen, was killed in the collision.

Jessop, who went on to plead guilty to manslaughter, had been speeding at 188 km/h just before the crash and the footage showed police had at one stage been driving at over 200 km/h to catch up to him.

The court heard from Mr Jokinen’s family, with his eldest daughter, Lisa Jokinen, saying, “For my high school graduation I lost my Mum [to cancer], and for my university graduation, I lost my Dad”.

“Words cannot fully describe who he was or the impacts his life and death have had,” she said.

“I feel as though everything I used to enjoy is gone. Everything is tainted by loss or fear.

“I hate that I’ll never get to see my Dad again. I hate that we’ll never be able to share anything again.”

Libby Adamson, who was Mr Jokinen’s partner, said losing a spouse meant every birthday and anniversary was no longer a joyous occasion.

“Harri was my soulmate. I didn’t think I believed in that concept before I met him,” she said.

“I miss everything about my life with Harri.”

READ ALSO ‘All of our family … believes Nathan was murdered’: inquest starts into death of Nathan Booth

Ms Jokinen’s partner, Rhys Hardy, said he thought his father-in-law would still be alive if those involved hadn’t taken risks.

“I’m so frustrated knowing Harri’s death was entirely avoidable,” he said.

The three described Mr Jokinen as kind, compassionate, sharing, intelligent, creative, a role model who was generous with his time when helping friends or his community, and a person who always thought of others before himself.

woman and man standing near a rail

Harri Jokinen with his partner, Libby Adamson. Photo: Supplied.

After the family spoke to the court, Jessop sometimes cried while being questioned by his barrister, Claire O’Neill from Forbes Chambers, and apologised to them.

“There’s no words to say to that family other than to say I’m sorry for what has happened,” the 49-year-old said.

“I hate myself so much for what happened to his family because I lost my Dad.”

Jessop, who grew up in Moruya and Mogo, had started drinking alcohol when he was 11, had taken cannabis daily since he was 12, then also took other drugs like heroin and struggled with mental health issues.

He’d suffered childhood trauma, and his baby daughter died in his arms when he was older.

READ ALSO Harden couple charged with Amber Haigh’s murder plead not guilty

He also said he owed “a lot of money” to drug dealers in Canberra, so he committed two break-and-enters at Michelago and Nimmitabel the night before the crash.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Nerissa Keay asked Jessop why he had been driving at 157 km/h when police first spotted him.

“Think I was just in a hurry to get to Canberra to get drugs,” he said.

Marc Anthony Jessop pleaded guilty to causing the crash on 30 December 2021. Photo: Facebook.

He admitted he wanted to overtake the slower ute and tried to squeeze between it and Mr Jokinen’s oncoming van when he caused the crash because he wanted to escape from police.

“I wasn’t really thinking at the time,” he said.

“If I could change places with that man, I would.”

Judge Craig Smith will hand down his sentence for Jessop on Thursday (18 May) afternoon.

READ ALSO Finke Desert Race organisers allegedly didn’t act on safety issues before Canberra man’s death

Jessop has pleaded guilty to single counts of manslaughter, police pursuit, driving a conveyance that was taken without the consent of the owner, driving while disqualified, as well as to two counts of aggravated break, enter and steal in company.

In a statement from Wednesday, Mr Jokinen’s family said, “There could be no good outcome today”.

“Nothing will bring Harri back to us. We are relieved to have this day behind us.

“We now look forward to the coronial inquest and hope there will be significant recommendations made to contribute towards safer NSW police pursuit policies.”

Original Article published by Albert McKnight on Riotact.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.