Anna Leask

Anna Leask is a police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Kiwi's bike ride ends in tragedy

Exclusive: Businesswoman's family offer condolences to Sydney driver who 'did nothing wrong'

Casey Kinnaird is described by her father David Kinnaird as a bubbly  person who excelled in everything she did.
Casey Kinnaird is described by her father David Kinnaird as a bubbly person who excelled in everything she did.

A training ride turned to tragedy when Wanganui-born businesswoman Casey Kinnaird lost control of her bike and collided with a vehicle south of Sydney at the weekend.

The 35-year-old entrepreneur suffered severe injuries and a stroke, and two days later her family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off her life support.

She was well known in Sydney business circles after working her way up as a financial planner and starting her own company. She was also a member of the League of Extraordinary Women, a group set up to motivate and support other female entrepreneurs.

Last night her father David Kinnaird spoke to the Herald about the decision to turn off the life support and his meeting with the driver of the car she hit.

"This driver did nothing. We were all feeling for him, so when the police came to see us we asked if we could make contact with him, if we could possible have a word with him and offer our condolences," Mr Kinnaird said.

"We don't hold him responsible in any way whatsoever. It was a tragic accident, unfortunately caused by my daughter. She knew the risks and she came up short at that particular time."

Ms Kinnaird was training for an Ironman event in the southern Sydney suburb of Waterfall on Saturday morning. Police said she was travelling down a "very steep" hill when she lost control and swerved into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Her husband Matt McBrearty raced to the hospital after the accident and then called Mr Kinnaird and his wife Jannine in Wanganui.

"Matt talked to us constantly, gave us all the information and then told us 'I think someone better come over'. He has been our rock over this side," said Mr Kinnaird.

Mrs Kinnaird flew to Sydney on Sunday morning and called her husband at 2.30am on Monday with bad news.

"We had 15 minutes to decide if they would operate on her.

"If they didn't operate the swelling on her brain would get worse, but if they did she would be in a vegetative state and spend the rest of her life in a nursing home.

"My girls and I knew - it wouldn't be Casey if she was in a bed unable to do anything again. She wouldn't want that, and we knew that.

"Matt said the same thing. Straight away he said 'no, you can't do that to Casey'."

Mr Kinnaird and his younger daughters Alycia and Jevada made it to Sydney in time to say their goodbyes.

"She was an organ donor ... If you knew my girl, that's what she was all about, helping other people. It's a very special thing," Mr Kinnaird said.

The family will return to New Zealand for a funeral, and head back to Sydney for a memorial service on February 6.

Mr Kinnaird said his daughter would be missed "terribly".

"From an early age we knew she was pretty special. Anything she did she just excelled at - school, sport, anything.

"She just succeeded. She loved people. She was a bubbly person, very positive, outgoing. She never had an unkind word to say about anyone or anything," he said.

- NZ Herald

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