CAROLYN Holland was once a trusting person. She was carefree, confident and independent.
That all changed on the afternoon of August 27, 2016, when Mrs Holland, now 71, and her late husband, Australian Test cricket legend Robert “Dutchy” Holland OAM, were viciously bashed and robbed of their phones when they arrived at Awaba Oval to find Tiffany Pandel and her then boyfriend, Benjamin Gibbs, riding a motorbike on the field.
Mrs Holland was knocked to the ground by Gibbs’s motorcycle, before she was repeatedly kicked in the face and ribs by Pandel.
While Mr Holland, who had a sling on his right arm after recent shoulder surgery, was punched and kicked to the ground by Gibbs.
A little over a year later, Mr Holland, who made his Test debut in 1984 at the age of 38 and famously spun Australia to victory with 10 wickets against the West Indies at the SCG in early 1985, succumbed to brain cancer.
Since that traumatic day in August, 2016, Mrs Holland has had to manage the anguish of losing her husband, the stressful and protracted court process and the constant fear of running into Pandel or Gibbs.
But for at least the next 12 months, Mrs Holland will be able to live her life without the fear of seeing her attackers. Pandel, who was found guilty of aggravated robbery and inflict actual bodily harm after a four-day trial in Newcastle District Court in August, was on Friday jailed for a maximum of three years, with a non-parole period of one year in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court.
“I’m OK with [the sentence],” Mrs Holland told the Newcastle Herald afterwards. “If it had of been longer, I would have been OK with that as well. I feel I need at least a year reprieve of not thinking about her. Hopefully she'll come out a better person and she'll get the help she needs.”
Gibbs, who pleaded guilty to bashing and robbing Mr Holland, was jailed in July for a maximum of five-and-a-half years, with a non-parole period of three years and four months. He intends to appeal against the severity of his jail term.