An unlicensed driver who escaped justice for years after she deliberately ran down a cyclist, leaving him to die beside a rural Queensland highway, has been sentenced to a decade behind bars.
Joanne Marie McAuley was incensed when cyclist Shui Ki Chan flipped her the finger on the Warrego Highway near Gatton about 7.30pm on August 23, 2012.
Blinded by fury, she took two separate highway exits to hunt down the 26-year-old Hong Kong national as he rode home from his shift at a nearby restaurant.
McAuley claimed she was only intended to "scare" him, but could not control the vehicle and smashed into Mr Chan.
The cyclist was thrown onto the grass verge with a fractured pelvis and succumbed to the "injuries or the elements" before his body was eventually discovered the next morning.
An autopsy could not determine what caused his death, with blood loss, shock and hypothermia identified as factors.
The Crown was scathing of an "inadequate police investigation" that allowed McAuley to escape punishment before she was finally charged with murder in June this year.
"Police were enlisted immediately, and right from the outset, the investigation was in my words 'less fulsome', or in the words of the coroner 'inadequate'," prosecutor Clayton Wallis said.
In the 10 years since the fatality, McAuley boasted to multiple people - friends, family and associates - about the night she killed the cyclist.
Each version was "tailored to her audience" and became more elaborate as time wore one.
She claimed to have run down Mr Chan because he was Asian and had reversed over his body "more than once".
"Equally, the defendant made racial slurs and remarks about the man she had struck," Mr Wallis said.
McAuley later claimed to police she learned about the fatality and used the details to get rid of a man who was threatening her son.
"The defendant's conduct is reprehensible," Mr Wallis said.
"She engaged in protracted and deliberate road rage. She had time for her anger to cool ... she was not affected by alcohol, drugs or mental illness.
"It was deliberated, calculated anger."
After weeks of legal negotiations, McAuley pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday.
In sentencing, Justice David Boddice savaged McAuley's "disgraceful behaviour".
"Because of sheer rage and nothing else you caused the death of a 26-year-old male who was simply riding a bicycle home from work," he said.
"You deliberately drove your vehicle, which you were incapable of controlling, so close to the deceased that it was inherently likely that he would be struck.
"Your behaviour on the night evidenced a complete disregard for human life. Your behaviour in the days following and in the ensuing years showed your complete lack of remorse."
McAuley collapsed and wailed "no" as she was sentenced to serve 10 years' imprisonment and declared a serious and violent offender.
She refused to leave the dock, reaching out to sobbing supporters in the gallery before being taken by prison officers from the court.
The 49-year-old will be eligible for parole in July 2026.
Australian Associated Press