Parents’ relief at conviction


The parents of a young German woman abandoned by her boyfriend after a crash in Queenstown’s Gorge Road are relieved the case is closed.

Anja and Olaf Spendig have made brief comments to Mountain Scene in response to Sahil Sudhir Shetty’s sentencing to 16 months’ prison in Queenstown’s court on Monday.

The Indian national, who previously admitted a charge of aggravated careless driving causing injury to Marie Spendig on March 13, was also ordered to pay her reparation.

Marie’s mother, Anja, says by email from her home in Germany that she and her daughter are “very relieved we can close the file Shetty”‘.

“We are looking forward to having a wonderful Christmas-time and starting a happier New Year.”

In a separate email, her father, Olaf, says he feels “lucky” the legal process is over.

Marie was a passenger in a Honda Odyssey, driven by a drunk Shetty, which veered off Gorge Rd about 4am and became wedged between an embankment and a back wall of the Gorge Road Retail Centre.

Shetty, 26, walked back into town and hitched a ride home to Arrowtown, leaving his girlfriend lying beside the car until a worker at the centre found her more than six hours later.

Crash site: Marie Spendig lay seriously injured beside the car for more than six hours

She spent almost a month in Dunedin Hospital’s ICU on a ventilator after undergoing emergency brain surgery.

Judge Farnan told Shetty his former girlfriend had suffered “severe consequences”, including a fractured skull, a brain injury and damage to a lung from inhaling stomach contents. She was unable to speak for a month and, as of July, was still learning to walk independently.

If he had reported the crash immediately, Marie would have received vital medical treatment much sooner.

“She is unlikely ever to be restored to full health.”

Farnan told him his actions since the crash have demonstrated little remorse.

Shetty has not written an apology to his former girlfriend, nor paid a cent in reparation for emotional harm.

“You do not appear to understand the seriousness of your offending.”

Shetty, who’s lived in the resort for the past four years, will almost certainly face deportation on his release.