Devastating result of trainee monk’s ice binge
A former trainee Buddhist monk has been jailed for causing the deaths of two "completely innocent" people while driving on an ice binge.
Baramee Janorat, 24, was sentenced to 12 years' jail with seven years and two months non-parole in the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of culpable driving causing death after veering onto the wrong side of Sunbury Road in Melbourne's northwest on October 10, 2019.
He crashed head-on into the car occupied by Lynette and Robert Anderson, 68 and 69, who both died at the scene.
Janorat was found in the car with a "primed syringe" below his outstretched hand, Judge Rosemary Carlin said.
He had .75mg per litre of ice in his blood as well as evidence of amphetamine and fentanyl.
The driver of the car in front of the Andersons said Janorat seemed to be making a "beeline" for his car.
The driver was able to swerve away but the Andersons had no room to move.
"You not only abruptly and violently brought to an end their lives, you shattered the lives of many others who cared for them," Judge Carlin said.
"You also altered the course of your life forever."
Three months earlier Janorat was in Thailand, the country of his birth, living a "humble life of work and prayer".
He was training as a monk at a Buddhist temple specialising in drug rehabilitation.
Two Thai Buddhist monks submitted character references to the court.
Formerly a daily ice user, he abstained from drugs during about a year at the temple - also spending five months drug-free in the Thai military.
He "thrived" and became a platoon leader of 50 recruits in the army, he told a psychologist.
But after returning to Australia he "succumbed at the first temptation", Judge Carlin said.
He told a psychologist that he began using ice again two days before the crash.
On the day of the crash the P2 licence holder, then 22, was returning to his Melton home after finishing his shift as a plasterer about 3pm.
About 10 minutes before the crash another driver was forced to veer not only out of her lane into the emergency lane, but onto the grass shoulder, to escape Janorat's vehicle coming towards her on the wrong side of the road.
"You were staring out the front windscreen," Judge Carlin said.
"When you were about 10 to 15 metres in front of her, you stuck your middle finger outside your passenger's side window whilst screaming at her."
When he hit the Andersons their cars "collided, bounced and rotated off each other".
The couple were driving to their home in central Victoria after a medical appointment.
"You should not have been driving with any ice in your system, let alone such an amount," Judge Carlin said.
She said Janorat had a "difficult upbringing" after moving to Australia in 2007 and struggling in school as the only Asian child in his class, with little support learning English.
But she said a psychologist found he used ice not to cope with difficulty but because he was "strongly attracted to the energy, euphoria and self-confidence" that it induced.
She said he knew what ice would do when he got behind the wheel that day.
"(Lynette and Robert) were obviously much loved by their family and community," she said.
Their daughter, Emma, told the court through a victim impact statement that their "deaths caused a massive hole in many people's lives".
Son, Craig, said he had "not only lost his parents but his best friends".
"He describes the surreal feeling of waiting for his parents to come home on the day of the crash only to be told by police that they had died," Judge Carlin said.
She said Janorat's future was "inextricably linked" to his ability to stay off drugs.
He has already served 176 days of his sentence.
Originally published as Devastating result of trainee monk's ice binge