Chris Chandler: Killer driver finished years in prison

An ice addict who used a stolen car as a battering ram to mow down and kill a toddler in a desperate attempt to escape police in western Sydney has been jailed for years.

Career criminal Christopher Chandler has been arrested for manslaughter of 17-month-old Tateolena Tauaifaga and sentenced to up to 19 years in prison.

Chandler was caught in police pursuit while out on bail on a felony charge when he was behind the wheel of a stolen Audi in January 2015.

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After being cornered in a dead-end street on Bethbrook Way in Constitution Hill, rather than surrendering, he deliberately walked through the fence to the Tauaifagas backyard.

He killed Tateolena Tauaifaga and frightened the other children in the yard.

Instead of stopping, he drove through the fence behind his backyard into Richill Park and rushed the child and parent to safety.

During the chase, Chandler occasionally drove on the wrong side of the road, driving 140 km/h and driving through a red light before police called off the chase out of concern for the community.

When sentencing Chandler in 2017, Supreme Court Judge Peter Johnson called Chandler’s actions a “grave end” to manslaughter and used the stolen car as a “bashing ram” to escape police. He described his choice to use it as “desperate and self-obsessed.”

Christopher Chandler on Tuesday shaved more than three years from his prison sentence. Photo: Attached
Christopher Chandler on Tuesday shaved more than three years from his prison sentence. Photo: Attached

After pleading guilty to manslaughter and being sentenced to 19 years in prison with no parole of 13 years, Chandler applied to the Court of Appeals for a reduced sentence.

At last year’s hearing, Chandler’s trial attorney Ian McLachlan argued that Chandler’s sentence was clearly excessive, that he was not given an appropriate reduction for his early guilty plea, and that Judge Johnson decided against his sentence. He sought a reduced sentence for four reasons, including failing to properly consider the disadvantaged upbringing.

In delivering their sentence on Tuesday, the Court of Appeals dismissed three of the grounds for his appeal, but found his ruling “clearly excessive.”

Tateolena Tauaifaga died while playing in her backyard.Photo: Attached

A panel of three judges was split in that decision, and Judge Robert Beech-Jones dismissed the appeal on all grounds.

However, Judges Peter Hamill and Natalie Adams noted several, including that it was one of the maximum sentences imposed for manslaughter and was comparable to the sentences given to some murderers. We have determined that this judgment is excessive due to the following factors.

In the court’s ruling, Judge Adams said Judge Johnson did not give Chandler an appropriate reduction due to his background of severe deprivation.

Chandler was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison, 10 years and 6 months without parole.

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Steve Zemek started his career in his native Queensland before moving to Sydney in AP, Australia in 2014. As a journalist for his NRL he worked for five seasons, covering all of Australia and his N.R.L. read more

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