Student in prison for hitchhiking across closed state line talks about her ‘nightmare’


Student, 28, convicted of hitchhiking across closed state line, opens ‘nightmare’ ordeal behind bars after sentencing Australia’s harshest sentence for breaking COVID-19 rules

  • Asher Faye Vander Sanden was in prison for three weeks for a covid border violation
  • She sneaked into Western Australia in a truck because her flight had been canceled
  • The 28-year-old said her time in prison was ‘a nightmare’ and she felt ‘powerless’

A college student who was in prison and in solitary confinement for hitchhiking across closed state lines has opened her ‘nightmare’ ordeal.

Asher Faye Vander Sanden traveled by road from coronavirus-ravaged Victoria to Western Australia between July 30 and August 11.

The 28-year-old had been allowed to enter the state, but police issued a warrant for her arrest when she failed to arrive at Perth Airport by plane as expected.

The construction was arrested by police at her friend’s home in Scarborough on August 11 after she sneaked into the state and skipped the hotel’s quarantine.

Asher Faye Vander Sanden, 28, (pictured) was sentenced to six months in prison after being found guilty of violating the Emergency Management Act

Asher Faye Vander Sanden, 28, (pictured) was sentenced to six months in prison after being found guilty of violating the Emergency Management Act

She spent three weeks of her six-month sentence in Bandyup Prison, near Perth, in the most severe sentence in the country for breaking the rules of the coronavirus.

Vander Sanden told 9 News the phrase, which meant two weeks of solitude, was “like being kicked in the stomach.”

“I was stunned, I was shocked … Just completely powerless,” she said.

‘It was a nightmare. It was cold, it was boring. I read five books in five days, walked around the cell for entertainment. ‘

Police stop and question drivers at a checkpoint on the NSW-Victoria border near Albury

Police stop and question drivers at a checkpoint on the NSW-Victoria border near Albury

Police stop and question drivers at a checkpoint on the NSW-Victoria border near Albury

Vander Sanden said the phrase, which involved two weeks in solitude, was 'like I was kicked in the stomach'

Vander Sanden said the phrase, which involved two weeks in solitude, was 'like I was kicked in the stomach'

Vander Sanden said the phrase, which involved two weeks in solitude, was ‘like I was kicked in the stomach’

It was reported that Vander Sanden wanted to bypass the mandatory $ 2,500 hotel quarantine fee, but she insisted she hitch a ride with a truckie because her flight back to WA was canceled.

“I felt alone and I had to find my own way home because everything I tried at the time failed,” she said.

Vander Sanden was charged one time with failing to comply with an Emergency Management Act directive.

Her lawyer, John Hammond, told the Perth Magistrates Court that the sentence was too severe.

He argued while she had a criminal record that it was related to a past ‘meth habit’ that was no longer a problem.

Vander Sanden's (photo) lawyer, John Hammond, told the Perth Magistrates Court that the sentence was too severe

Vander Sanden's (photo) lawyer, John Hammond, told the Perth Magistrates Court that the sentence was too severe

Vander Sanden’s (photo) lawyer, John Hammond, told the Perth Magistrates Court that the sentence was too severe

During last month’s sentencing, Magistrate Andrew Matthews told Vander Sanden that her actions had the potential to undo “what this government has done to prevent the spread of the community.”

The woman agreed that she should be punished for her actions and apologized to the community for endangering them.

“I understand why people are angry with me and I understand that I have taken a huge risk at the expense of others, and I apologize. I’m sorry deep down, ”she said.

On Tuesday, her sentence was quashed and she was ordered to serve 50 hours of community service.

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