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‘I was at my wits’ end’: Asher Vander Sanden explains why she dodged hotel quarantine

The Perth woman who successfully appealed a six month jail sentence for dodging hotel quarantine in Western Australia has explained to Gareth Parker why she did what she did.

Asher Vander Sanden had her sentence for breaching a quarantine order overturned yesterday by a Supreme Court judge who said the original sentence of six months was ‘excessive’ and instead sentenced Ms Vander Sander to 50 hours of community service given she had already spent three weeks in prison.

Speaking with Gareth Parker on Mornings, Ms Vander Sanden explained she had felt at her wits’ end when she had flights home cancelled, and missed her final flight home because of a taxi cancellation. She had been in Victoria supporting her sister through the end of a domestic violence situation and says she panicked and made the ‘mercy dash’ back to Western Australia because she simply wanted to come home.

“I tried all the other options, I first bought a plane ticket in early July and Jetstar grounded all their flights so I lost that flight, and then when I got my G2G pass, I booked a hotel room and booked a flight from Mildura to Melbourne and flight from Melbourne to Perth, and then last minute the taxi cancelled and I missed my flight,” she said.

“I was dealing with a lot of family issues in Victoria and I was suffering really badly from anxiety, I reached out for help in Victoria and I got absolutely none and I was at my wits’ end and I didn’t know what to do and I just wanted to go home, I just felt like I was going to lose it there.

“I just did the mercy dash back to Perth without even thinking.”

Ms Vander Sanden says she understands the seriousness of her actions and why her actions were wrong, but says on her arrival back in Western Australia self-isolated because she knew how serious COVID-19 is.

“I understood about corona, about the risks associated with it. My niece has severe asthma and has respiratory problems, so I understood the severity of the COVID.

“I had the house stocked up before I got there, and just locked the door and just stayed in the house until I was able to contact a lawyer and hand myself in.”

Listen to Asher’s interview with Gareth here: