27 Sept 2022

Longford man charged with dangerous driving causing death to be sentenced next week

Longford man charged with dangerous driving causing death to be sentenced next week

Judge Keenan Johnson has adjourned the case of a man charged with dangerous driving causing death to next week so that he can take time to consider an appropriate sentence.


Martin McDonagh, of 82 Grian Ard, Longford, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death earlier this year. He entered further guilty pleas to driving without insurance, driving a defective vehicle and failure to remain at the scene.


On behalf of the State, Mr Shane Geraghty Bl explained that close to midnight on June 15, 2018, Gda Tommy Farrell took up duty received a 999 call from a man called Barry Sears.


As a result of the call, Gda Farrell became aware that a man was lying on the road at Deerpark, Newtownforbes after an alleged hit and run incident.


The Garda patrol car connected to Longford Garda Station was dispatched and gardaí arrived at the scene shortly after.


The court heard that, earlier that night, Mr Sears had travelled to the home of his friend, Craig McDermott, and the two had watched television and listened to music before deciding to walk to Longford Town at approximately 11.30pm.


As they came to the main road, Mr Sears explained in his statement to gardaí that Mr McDermott was on the hard shoulder and, as Mr Sears was searching in his bag, he heard a whoosh and a bang and, when he looked up, his friend was lying on the road.


He told gardaí that the car stopped briefly 30 or 40 metres away before driving off again.


Emergency services arrived at the scene soon afterwards and treated Mr McDermott's injuries. He was removed from the scene at 12.35am and treated at hospital but was ultimately pronounced dead at 2.16am.


In a victim impact statement read out in court this afternoon, Craig's mother, Maureen McDermott said that June 16, 2018, was "the worst day of our lives and will live with us forever".


Her son, she said, was her best friend - "unique and kindhearted" - and "his sister's protective big brother; he was her hero".


"We've had so many amazing times together that we will cherish forever," said Mrs McDermott.


Judge Johnson commended Mrs McDermott on the delivery of her victim impact statement and thanked her for coming to court today.


"Your statement gives a good picture of what Craig was like," he said, before expressing his condolences on the "heavy burden" that is the loss of a child.


"This is an absolutely tragic case and absolutely devastating for Craig's family," said Judge Johnson, adding that he will take time to consider sentence.


Mr McDonagh will reappear at Longford Circuit Court for sentencing on Friday, October 22.


For more, see next week's Longford Leader.

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