An Oamaru man has been sentenced to four months home detention over the hit-and-run death of 14-year-old Zara Blackie in October last year.

He was also ordered to pay $4000 reparation to Zara's family.

Joshua John Chellew, 30, pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to stop and ascertain injury after he hit Zara with his car in Oamaru's Severn St, near the intersection with Cross St, about 10.40pm on October 23.

At his first appearance in the Oamaru District Court last year, Chellew was granted continued name suppression.


That was lifted at his sentencing in the Oamaru District Court today.

On the night Zara died, Chellew had been at his Oamaru address socialising with friends.

Before he left with his girlfriend about 10.30pm, he consumed three cans of bourbon and cola, and a quarter of a cannabis joint.

The couple drove to Z Energy in Severn St and bought food and cigarettes, then continued to travel south on Severn St.

As Chellew was driving in the left lane of the section of State Highway 1 and crossed the short bridge that spans Oamaru Creek, the victim ran out on to the highway from behind the southwestern bridge abutment.

A police summary of facts said she tripped or stumbled into the path of the oncoming vehicle and the driver was unable to avoid hitting her.

The vehicle struck Zara's head and upper body, causing blunt force trauma injuries.

While the man slowed momentarily, he fled the scene at high speed in a southbound direction.


The defendant stayed the night at an associate's address, before he handed himself in to police the next morning.

The crash scene in Oamaru's Severn St.
The crash scene in Oamaru's Severn St.

When spoken to by police, he said he fled because he was in shock and had panicked.

An analysis of the crash scene estimated that he was travelling between 33kmh and 48kmh at the time of the crash.

He admitted to smoking the cannabis before he left his address, but believed it had not impaired him too much to drive.

Zara's funeral was held in October.