“I never want to see this killer again. I hate this man.”
Those were the words of a widow, describing a methamphetamine-using driver who accelerated an unroadworthy, modified car to more than 200 kilometres per hour shortly before he crashed into and killed her husband, the father of her two children.
Rounding on Brydon Edward Boyce, who sat with his head down in the dock of the High Court at Napier, the grieving widow swore at him and said: “You destroyed my family”.
Leanne Milliaccio was giving a victim impact statement relaying her grief for her husband, Marco Milliaccio, 45, who was killed by Boyce on St George’s Road near Havelock North on July 4, 2022.
“My heart is in pieces. I have lost the person who knows me better than anyone. My husband,” Milliaccio said.
“How am I supposed to carry on if part of my life has ended?”
The court heard that Boyce was driving a Ford Falcon which he had modified to twice its normal horsepower.
The car was unregistered, and unwarranted and Boyce had been banned from driving, but on that day he was showing off to two mates who were passengers in the vehicle.
When police searched the wreck, they discovered Boyce had been carrying 128 grams of methamphetamine in snaplock bags, a loaded revolver, cannabis, pseudoephedrine and $11,500 in cash.
Justice Andru Isac said that Boyce had been clocked driving at 144km/h by a police patrol car coming the other way.
When Boyce’s radar detector went off, he accelerated away, trying - in the judge’s words - “to spare yourself from prison”, because the drugs and firearm alone would have led to a significant jail term.
Crash experts who examined CCTV footage taken from a property nearby estimated that he reached speeds of between 200km/h and 250km/h before braking, losing control and crossing the centre line on a bend.
He drove into Milliaccio’s car at about 115km/h, pushing it backwards for 19 metres.
The Italian-born father-of-two and children’s football coach, who was on his way home from work to his family, died at the scene.
Boyce and his two passengers were taken to hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
Boyce was found to have methamphetamine in his system at several times the high-risk level for driving. Justice Isac said he was “heavily and dangerously” under its influence.
Leanne Milliaccio said her family was “forever broken” and filled with unbearable grief and suffering 17 months after the crash.
“The pain will always be there, until I die. This is now my future.”
Crown prosecutor Cameron Stuart said that in researching other comparable cases he had not found one involving a vehicle travelling at such speeds.
Defence counsel Roger Philip said Boyce had written a letter of remorse and offered to advance $15,000 to the family for emotional harm.
At an earlier hearing Boyce pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Marco Milliaccio, two charges of reckless driving causing injury, possessing methamphetamine for supply and cannabis for sale, possessing pseudoephedrine and possessing a firearm and ammunition.
Justice Isac sentenced him to seven years and four months in prison for the manslaughter and lesser concurrent terms for the other charges.
The judge described Milliaccio as a “very fine man” and a good person, whose loss had an immense impact on his children, his wife, his brother and his parents still in Italy.
Ric Stevens spent many years working for the former New Zealand Press Association news agency, including as a political reporter at Parliament, before holding senior positions at various daily newspapers. He joined NZME's Open Justice team in 2022 and is based in Hawke's Bay. His writing in the crime and justice sphere is informed by four years of front-line experience as a probation officer.