Meth-using mum Valencia Skipper who killed daughter in crash gets jail sentence reduced to home detention

Six months after being jailed for two and a half years for a crash that killed her daughter, a woman has been re-sentenced to  four months home detention.

Valencia Skipper crashed while driving under the influence of methamphetamine, killing her 2-year-old daughter Saphire​ Te Aroha Skipper-Hira, on the evening of January 13, 2016. 

Skipper, who was 21 at the time of the crash, was originally sentenced in April to two and a half years in jail, but had that sentence quashed in the Court of Appeal last month. A bid to have her conviction overturned was not successful. 

The Court of Appeal sent the matter back to the district court so Skipper could be re-sentenced, with one of fhe Court of Appeal judges, Justice Forrie Miller, presiding, remarking that on the face of it, the sentence was harsh. 

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Skipper, who was on bail after serving five months in prison, appeared before Judge Geoff Rea via video link from Kaikohe in Napier District Court on Thursday.

Her lawyer William Hawkins said Skipper had effectively served 10 months in prison and that the least restrictive outcome would be three and a half months home detention.

Judge Rea said there was little to say given the Court of Appeal ruling and that four months home detention was appropriate. 

He disqualified her from obtaining a driver's licence for three years.

Saphire was sitting in a child car seat, but not buckled in when the crash happened, although it was suggested either she or the other child in the car had undone the fastening.

The crash occurred on State Highway 50A, on the outskirts of Hastings between Omahu Rd and Flaxmere Ave, just before 5pm on January 13, 2016.

Skipper was not licensed to drive. Her 11-year-old sister had also been in the car.

Skipper lost control of the car, causing it to veer across the centre line and hit a bank on the incorrect side of the road. Witnesses said it happened for no apparent reason.

 - Stuff