The grieving family of a woman killed when she was hit by a car has asked not for punishment, but that the driver honour their wife and mother in a special way.

Jeanette Grice, 60, was out for a walk with her husband on the morning of December 4, 2016, when tragedy struck.

The couple, as well as another pedestrian, was passing the Palmers Garden Centre on Shore Rd, Remuera, just before 9am when a car reversed at speed towards them.

The vehicle, being driven by Auckland woman Mary Cross, continued accelerating and struck both of them down, with Jeanette Grice being flung into bush.


She was critically injured and died at the scene.

Her husband, Roger Grice, suffered severe injuries and was taken to hospital. The third pedestrian had minor injuries.

Police later charged Cross with two counts of careless driving, one causing death and the other causing injury.

In the Auckland District Court today, Judge Eddie Paul sentenced Cross to 200 hours community work and a total of $7000 in reparation to the Grice family for emotional harm.

She was also disqualified from driving for a year and one day and will have to sit a driver's test after that period if she wants to drive again.

Cross, dressed in black, stood in the dock crying softly.

There were tears in the public gallery also, where Grice's family, including her husband, held hands and supported each other.

A framed photograph sat on top of a bar just in front of them - showing their mother and wife smiling happily.


Judge Paul acknowledged a restorative justice meeting between Cross and the Grice family; during which the Jeanette Grice's family asked that instead of a fine, they would like Cross to create a memorial garden for their mother at the site.

Looking directly at Cross, Judge Paul said: "This is a solemn promise that you have made, ma'am.

"You should honour it.''

Judge Paul said he had read a number of letters from the victim's family, including those from her children, which showed a small window into the grief they had been dealing with for the past few months.

A letter written by Roger Grice acknowledged he had found it difficult to move on since the death of his wife.

"I've tried to put back normality in my life, but nothing is normal anymore.

"I spend much of my time in a lonely place.

"I would give everything I own to have five minutes ... to tell her I love her and say goodbye.''

The court also heard a letter written by Cross and read out by her lawyer, in which she said: "Our heartfelt sorrow will forever be with the Grice family and their immeasurable grief over the loss of such a loved one from what was a tragic accident.''

Judge Paul acknowledged that Cross had "clearly got it wrong'' somehow that fateful day, which the court heard she could not explain to this day.

A Police Serious Crash Unit report found that it appeared Cross simply had the car in the wrong gear when she put her foot down on the accelerator, sending her vehicle into reverse instead of drive.

Surprised that she had not stopped and thinking she had her foot on the brake pedal, a police officer said, she pushed down even harder - which ultimately led to deadly consequences.