‘Slap in the face’: Family share grief over Joanna Shanahan’s death

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The families of senior police officer, Joanne Shanahan (nee Panagiotou), and mother, Tania McNeill, who were both killed in an Adelaide car crash in April last year, have spoken out today about their grief.

Harrison Kitt, 21, was charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of causing harm by dangerous driving, but was found not guilty by reason of mental incompetence in August.

He will serve a limiting term under mental health supervision instead of a prison sentence.

READ MORE: Harrison Kitt found not guilty of crash that killed Joanne Shanahan and an Adelaide mum.

Harrison Kitt.

In response, the McNeill and Shanahan families have said in their victim statements they would forever struggle to come to terms with that fact.

Ms Shanahan’s daughter, Eleni, who was originally intended to travel with her mother that day, said Mr Kitt had created “many victims” with mental illnesses of their own.

“This was not a car accident, it was not an accident at all – it was a crash, and no one else is at fault except one single driver who managed to survive,” Eleni said, according to The Advertiser.

“No matter mental health, there was still a criminal act … I hope that Harrison can take responsibility for his actions.”

Ms Shanahan’s father, Nick Panagiotou, urged Mr Kitt not to seek their forgiveness saying it was “unfair to ask more of us” and “feels like a slap in the face.”

“As much as your family believe you were not to blame, we don’t agree – you were the one driving the car that killed my daughter,” he said.

Joanne’s funeral last year. Photo: Argyro Vourdoumpa.

READ MORE: Police officers and SA community bid public farewell to Joanne Shanahan.

Ms Shanahan’s husband, Peter, said he has chosen to be “grateful” for what he has “rather than what I have lost.”

“I choose to forgive Harrison Kitt, I choose to be a person who (strives) to have a positive impact on everyone I meet,” Mr Shanahan said.

Judge Paul Muscat remanded Mr Kitt on continuing bail for further submissions in a fortnight and thanked the families for their statements.

READ MORE: Husband and children of Greek Australian Senior Police Officer Joanne Shanahan returned to crash site.

Source: The Advertiser.

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