Kate Ritchie torn apart by drink driving victim’s mum after blowing over limit


A mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver has lashed out at Kate Ritchie after she was busted driving over the limit.

Judy Lindsay lost her own daughter Hayley, 20, when her intoxicated friend crashed his car while she was in the back seat on a night out on May 16, 2009.

Ms Lindsay said the former Home and Away star had no excuse, even though she was only just over the limit at 0.06, because the actress and radio host once hailed as ‘Australia’s sweetheart’ was supposed to set an example. 

‘Kate Ritchie is not the person I thought she was,’ she told Daily Mail Australia, adding she was ‘shocked’ when she read the news about the 44-year-old’s arrest.

‘I mean come on, she should know better.’

Kate Ritchie was busted drink driving in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Monday when she was stopped for a random breath test

Judy Lindsay (right) lost her daughter Hayley, 20, (left) when her intoxicated friend crashed his car while she was in the back seat. She lashed out at Ritchie for her positive test

Judy Lindsay (right) lost her daughter Hayley, 20, (left) when her intoxicated friend crashed his car while she was in the back seat. She lashed out at Ritchie for her positive test

Ms Lindsay, whose life will never be the same after receiving a call telling her Hayley was dead, is determined to stop other families from suffering from drink driving. 

She said said celebrities breaking the law undermines efforts to stop Australians from risking their and others’ lives on the road.

‘I know it’s low range, but it’s still drink driving. We have rules because people die and you can’t make any excuses for it,’ she said.

‘How many young people have grown up watching Kate Ritchie on TV? She can’t do stuff like that because it sets such a bad example.

‘Hasn’t she learned? No one is above the law as long as people keep dying.’

Since receiving the phone call from paramedics no parent wants to hear when Hayley (pictured) died in 2009, Ms Lindsay is determined family shouldn't go through what hers did

Since receiving the phone call from paramedics no parent wants to hear when Hayley (pictured) died in 2009, Ms Lindsay is determined family shouldn’t go through what hers did

The scene of the crash where Hayley died. She was in the back seat and was killed while her friends escaped with minor injuries

The scene of the crash where Hayley died. She was in the back seat and was killed while her friends escaped with minor injuries

How Judy lost her little girl to drink driving

Judy Lindsay lost her daughter Hayley, 20, when her drunk friend crashed his car while she was in the back seat on a night out on May 16, 2009.

She received the call every parent fears at 11.34pm.

‘An ambulance officer asked me if I was Hayley’s mum, I said yes, the lady said Hayley has been in a very serious car accident.

‘I said is she alright, and the lady said, no unfortunately we were unable to revive her.

‘I went straight to the crash site, I was on the side of the road with Hayley’s body in disbelief that this was happening.

‘I live with the knowing that Hayley was frightened and wanted to get out of the car but he wouldn’t stop. He took Hayley’s life in his hands and threw it away.’

Ritchie, 44, apologised for her ‘poor decision’ after she was pulled over behind the wheel of blue Subaru stationwagon in Pagewood in Sydney’s south about 2.45pm on Monday. 

She tested positive and was immediately arrested and taken to Maroubra Police Station where the result was confirmed at 0.06 BAL. 

‘Recently I undertook a random breath test. Although it was low level, the test came back positive,’ the radio star wrote on Instagram.

‘I made a poor decision and there is no doubt I understand the seriousness of my actions. I am truly sorry.’ 

Ms Lindsay detailed how her life changed forever when she received a call at 11.34pm 23 years ago. 

‘(The caller) asked me if I was Hayley’s mum, I said yes, the lady said Hayley has been in a very serious car accident. 

‘I said is she alright, and the lady said, no unfortunately we were unable to revive her.

‘I went straight to the crash site, I was on the side of the road with Hayley’s body in disbelief that this was happening. 

‘I live with the knowing that Hayley was frightened and wanted to get out of the car but he wouldn’t stop. He took Hayley’s life in his hands and threw it away.’

Ritchie was fined $600 on the spot and suspended from driving for three months. 

Ritchie's drink driving comes at a bad time as she negotiates a new contract with Nova, after joining the drive time show in 2013 alongside Tim Blackwell (left) and former host Marty Sheargold. Current co-host Joel Creasy pictured right

Ritchie’s drink driving comes at a bad time as she negotiates a new contract with Nova, after joining the drive time show in 2013 alongside Tim Blackwell (left) and former host Marty Sheargold. Current co-host Joel Creasy pictured right

Her former husband – ex-rugby league star Stuart Webb – was caught drunk-driving five times between 2012 and 2019 when the couple split.

Ritchie’s drink driving comes at a bad time as she negotiates a new contract with Nova, after joining the drive time show in 2013 alongside Tim Blackwell and former host Marty Sheargold.

Well-placed radio sources say the future of the former Home and Away star is ‘uncertain’ and she could be replaced.

She snubbed the media near her home when she was seen for the first time since being busted and refused to answer questions about it or her future.

EXCLUSIVE: Why Kate Ritchie ‘could lose $1m-a-year radio job’: Nova looks for a ‘cheaper replacement’ as Home and Away star is busted drink driving on the eve of her long-awaited TV comeback

After almost a decade hosting Nova’s popular drive show, Kate Ritchie’s time at the radio network could be up. 

Well-placed radio sources say the future of the former Home and Away star – who joined the show in 2013 alongside Tim Blackwell and former host Marty Sheargold – is ‘uncertain’ as she and her management enter contract renegotiations.

Her hopes of a new deal were delivered a huge blow when she was busted for drink-driving in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Extended absences have been cited by one insider as one of the black marks against Ritchie

Extended absences have been cited by one insider as one of the black marks against Ritchie

The former Home and Away star was stopped by police for a random breath test in her blue Subaru station wagon at 2.45pm last Monday on Heffron Rd in Pagewood.

Ritchie, 44, tested positive by the roadside and was immediately arrested and taken to Maroubra Police Station where she underwent a secondary breath analysis which returned a positive reading of 0.06 – just over the legal limit. 

A police spokesman told Daily Mail Australia: ‘She was issued with an infringement notice for the offence of Drive with Low Range Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol and issued a Licence Suspension Notice.’

Ritchie is understood to have been fined $600 on the spot and suspended from driving for three months.

She snubbed the media near her home when she was seen for the first time since being busted and refused to answer questions about it or her future.

The incident came while the veteran star is on three weeks’ leave from her show, after clocking up a series of extended holidays over the past few years.

The recent extended absences from the airwaves have been cited by an industry insider as one of the black marks against Ritchie’s name, along with her bumper salary package which has steadily grown over the years to an estimated $1million.

At one point in 2020, Ritchie took seven consecutive weeks of leave from her late-afternoon shift, whichone radio figure said was ‘unheard of’.

A Nova spokesperson was quick to dismiss speculation Ritchie was being replaced, insisting she was ‘collaborating’ with her management to balance her radio commitments with a planned ‘return to her acting roots’.

Ricki-Lee Coulter (pictured) is currently filling in for Ritchie and has been named as her most-likely successor should Nova opt to wind up her tenure with the network

Ricki-Lee Coulter (pictured) is currently filling in for Ritchie and has been named as her most-likely successor should Nova opt to wind up her tenure with the network 

The former soap star, who is also a judge on the upcoming season of Australia’s Got Talent on Channel Seven, hosts Nova’s drive show with Blackwell and relative newcomer Joel Creasy, who replaced Sheargold in 2020.

Ricki-Lee Coulter is currently filling in for Ritchie and has been named as her most-likely successor should Nova opt to wind up her tenure with the network.

Coulter would cost the station about $300,000 per year, a source said, making her a far more affordable option as Nova reportedly tries to slash its budget.

Nova’s national drive show is estimated to have an annual budget of about $4million but is being beaten in the ratings by KIIS FM’s Will and Woody, hosted by popular duo Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw, who are paid about $500,000 each.

Ritchie originally joined Nova in 2008 as a breakfast host with Merrick Watts and Tim Ross. 

She quit that job in 2010 for a return to acting but later joined the drive team in 2014.

Flanked by Blackwell and Sheargold, the show won three Australian Commercial Radio Awards: Best Networked Program in 2015, and Best On-Air Team in 2016 and 2017. 

Sheargold quit in 2020 for a solo post at The Marty Sheargold Show on Triple M.

In the most recent survey, Kate, Tim and Joel grew its Sydney audience by 0.4 percentage points to an overall share of 9.7 per cent.

The program placed third behind Byron Webb at Smooth FM (10 per cent) and Will and Woody on KIIS (10.7 per cent).

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ritchie’s representatives for comment. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk