Driver admits Dutch cyclist’s fatal hit

Gitta Scheenhouwer was fatally hit while cycling in a Chapel Street bike lane at South Yarra.

A drug user speeding in a stolen car was on his way to get his next hit when he fatally struck a cyclist on her way to work in Melbourne.

Michael Panayides appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday via video link, pleading guilty to six charges over the death of 27-year-old Dutch woman Gitta Scheenhouwer, on Chapel Street on August 12 last year.

Panayides, also 27, admitted culpable driving causing death, unlicensed driving, failing to render assistance, negligently dealing with proceeds of crime, vehicle theft and recklessly causing injury.

Four other charges were withdrawn.

He’d had been unlicensed while driving the stolen 2017 Mercedes Benz, when he struck a number of vehicles and the cyclist who was in the bike lane, a court summary states.

Ms Scheenhouwer, 27, and her boyfriend Thomas had left the Netherlands to follow their longtime wish of living Down Under for a couple of years.

She worked at a dance school and was studying to become an architect.

An 81-year-old woman inside a Mitsubishi Lancer rear ended by Panayides spent weeks in hospital after suffering bruising and swelling to her head and chest.

The speed limit was 40km/h.

Panayides had been on his way to see a dealer in Richmond, and had used heroin the night before.

The homeless man collected some belongings and fled the crash scene on foot as a witness tried unsuccessfully to stop him.

“I didn’t even know I hit the person. I just panicked and like, left,” he told police during a subsequent interview, noting he didn’t recall the details of the crash.

Panayides went to a friend’s place where he was told to go to hospital and hand himself in to police. Instead he left to buy drugs.

He regularly uses heroin and ice intravenously, a court summary outlined.

Panayides was arrested on August 13 in Melbourne’s CBD in possession of gold and silver jewellery, some stolen along with the Mercedes during a home burglary on August 5 at Elsternwick.

He also had coins and drug paraphernalia in his bag.

Panayides told police two days after the crash he did not know there had been fatality or anyone involved, rather he believed he’d clipped a door.

Analysis of the airbag control module from the car – to show his speed before the crash – is still underway.