Sarah Paino's family marks one year since young Hobart mother's tragic death.

The father of Tasmanian mother Sarah Paino says today will be “full of emotion” as family deal with the one-year anniversary of Sarah’s death, while also celebrating the first birthday of her son.

Ms Paino, 24, died when a 15-year-old driving a stolen four-wheel drive ploughed into her car in the Hobart CBD on the night of January 22.

She was 32 weeks pregnant at the time and doctors were able to save her unborn baby boy, Caleb.

Her two-year-old son Jordan, who was in the back seat of the car, survived the crash unharmed.

Ms Paino’s father Michael described the past year as “a roller coaster”.

“A lot of lows but not many highs,” he said.

“People see you on the surface and everyone says you’re holding up OK. But it’s been behind closed doors when the pain really kicks in.”

Mr Paino said the anniversary would bring mixed emotions.

“Caleb doesn’t know any different, this is his first birthday without mum — that is one of many that he has got to live with,” he said.

“We are going through that grieving process of trying to get the boys to understand that mum is in heaven.

“And yes, we will celebrate for Caleb, but behind closed doors we are full of sadness and absolutely devastated.”

Ms Paino’s friend Seirna Stocks said it was important to celebrate Caleb’s life, while also remembering Sarah.

“I guess the main aim is just to stay happy for Caleb — it is his first birthday and yes, we lost Sarah, but he is still here — so let’s show him a little bit of happiness for his birthday,” she said.

Mr Paino said his two grandsons, Jordan and Caleb, were “thriving”.

“Jordan is just a bundle of joy, he’s active and growing up very quickly. He loves his brother,” he said.

“Caleb has been very good. He’s actually been thriving since birth. And he will grow up to be a decent little man, that’s all we can hope for.

“I know that Sarah’s looking down on them and making sure that everything goes well.”

Community donations placed in trust for sons

Mr Paino said more than $570,000 raised through an online community fundraiser after Ms Paino’s death had been put in trusts for the two boys.

“Rest assured that the money has gone into trusts and the boys will be looked after,” he said.

“The public support at the time was fantastic. The donations have been overwhelming.”

The teenager who killed Ms Paino was sentenced to five years in detention with a non-parole period of two-and-a-half years.

Mr Paino said he “felt nothing” at the sentencing.

“This boy, this kid, he did not look 15, he looked 12 years of age,” he said.

“I looked at him, I looked at his parents, and he’s a victim of circumstance. He’s got a low IQ, that came out in court.

“There were four of them in the car and he was just one of them. He was the one that got caught for driving but he never started out being the driver, they swapped drivers.


“So could it have ended up a different? I don’t know. It’s frustrating.”

Plea to speed up law reform

The tragedy sparked calls for laws surrounding car theft and dangerous driving to be toughened.

Tasmanian Police Association President Pat Allen called on the Government to speed up the process of law reform.

“The wheels turn slowly in relation to legislative change, it always has, but what I wouldn’t like to see is the wheels stop turning,” Mr Allen said.

“They’d want to consider picking up the pace a little bit because we don’t want to see anyone else die in those circumstances.”

Mr Paino said change was overdue.

“Not just in Tasmania, around the country, it becomes a bit of a joke,” he said.

“There is really two parts [that need changing]. One is for police to have better power and tactics to stop this sort of thing, and the other one is the law itself to make sure that the punishment fits the crime.

“I’d love to see that changed and I’d love to see it called Sarah’s Law.

“I think we’re going to lose more daughters, sons, fathers until this law is changed.”

Ms Stocks said the pace of reform was frustrating but not surprising.

“It’s not really a surprise because we knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight, but it is heartbreaking that nothing has changed as of yet,” she said.

In a statement, Police Minister Rene Hidding said the Government was expected to receive advice soon from the Sentencing Advisory Council and would then decide whether to increase penalties for driving offences resulting in death or injury.

“In relation to ‘evade police’ laws, this matter is under active consideration,” he said.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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