Hunter Valley bus crash victims’ families ‘betrayed’ after they say deal offered to driver Brett Button

Robert Ovadia 7News
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Many people from the families of the 10 people who died in the crash are angry and broken.

The families of victims of a horror bus crash in the NSW Hunter Valley that killed 10 people say they feel betrayed after they claim the State prosecutor reached a plea deal with the driver.

Brett Button, 59, is facing 89 charges including 10 counts of manslaughter over his alleged role in one of Australia’s deadliest crashes that left 25 injured.

Mr Button was transporting 35 wedding guests from a wedding in the NSW Hunter Valley on June 11 last year when he allegedly lost control, with the bus rolling over at a roundabout near Greta.

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Among the deaths were Nadene and Kyah McBride, Kyah’s boyfriend Kane Symons, husband and wife Andrew and Lynan Scott, Zach Bray, Angus Craig, Darcy Bulman, Tori Cowburn and Rebecca Mullen.

The families of victims said they had been informed by the New South Wales Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that the charges of manslaughter would be dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to the lesser charges of dangerous driving causing death.

Matt Mullen, the father of Rebecca Mullen, said he felt betrayed.

“I begged them and we’re still waiting now in the process hoping that they will reconsider,” he said.

Rebecca’s mother Leanne Mullen said she was denied holding her dying daughter by police and said she felt like her sacrifice had been disrespected.

Emergency crews stand near a bus that rolled onto its side near Greta in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, Australia, Monday, June 12, 2023. The bus carrying wedding guests rolled over on a foggy night in Australia's wine country, killing and injuring multiple people, police said. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
The scene of the crash. Credit: Mark Baker/AP

“As her mum to be able to hold her while she was still warm, to be able to hold her hand, to kiss her on the forehead,” she said.

“To tell her the things I needed to say. That was denied because it was a crime scene. But now that seems to me like sacrifices on my part as a mum has been disrespected.”

Montana Bray, the sister of Zach Bray, also said she felt disrespected by the plea deal.

“I’m no legal expert but I know the 10 people that did die on that bus deserve more than this,” she said.

The NSW DPP said airing the families’ grievances may be “case conference material with respect to which there is a statutory prohibition against publication”.

Mr Biutton ios due to face court on Wednesday.

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