Garbage truck driver Mathew Gray pleads guilty to death of cyclist near Bendigo

Family members of an 18-year-old cyclist who died after being hit by a garbage truck in 2019 have made emotional victim impact statements in a Melbourne court.

Mathew Gray, 42, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to dangerous driving causing death and drug driving in county court via video link.

Bendigo teenager Michael Keating was wearing a high-visibility vest and had left work on his bike to go to lunch when he was struck at the intersection of Hattam Street and Woodward Road in Golden Square.

The court heard that the day before, Gray had gone to the circus with his family and had taken methamphetamine.

Former garbage truck driver Mathew Gray.(

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“It tears my heart out”

Victim statements read in court by several of Mr. Keating’s family described him as a “loving” and “cheeky” young man.

“I feel so angry and heartbroken that so much has been taken from us,” his sister, Natalie, told court.

Mr. Keating was the fourth generation to work in the family business, Keating’s Transport, and was set to take over in the years to come.

Carrefour Michael Keating Carré d'Or
Tributes remain at the intersection where Michael Keating died.(

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His father, Glenn, told the court his son’s office was left empty and his backpack and boots were left at the office because he couldn’t get them home.

“It’s so quiet at work, no music and he liked the same as me.”

Susan Keating cried as she detailed her daily visits to her son’s grave.

“I tell him what’s going on with the family. I still can’t believe he’s gone,” she said.

“I’m still worried about him – Is he safe?” Is he happy? Is he hot? Do we miss him, as we miss him?

Man smiling at camera
Michael Keating’s family read the victim impact statements in court.(

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She also explained how she now lived with depression, had nightmares and worried about her other son and daughter.

“I have panic attacks if they don’t come home when they’re supposed to.

“[Michael’s] in my thoughts every minute.

Terribly difficult case

Defense lawyer Markorius Habib told the court his client had remorse and had a long history of drug abuse.

The court heard that since the incident Gray’s marriage had broken down and that he no longer lived with his children aged 17 and 19.

Judge Andrew Tinney described the case as “terribly difficult for the judges” because they were dealing with “people who did not intend to commit a serious crime”.

The hearing continues Thursday, with Gray due to be sentenced on July 2.


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