herald

Thursday 29 September 2016

Driver banned three times knocked down and killed cyclist (62)

Christopher Coleman pleaded guilty to dangerous driving
Christopher Coleman pleaded guilty to dangerous driving
Eugene Maher
Lisa Maher leaving court (second from left) leaving court with family and friends

A man banned from driving three times knocked down and killed a cyclist when he drove a car at speed through a red light, a court has heard.

Eugene Maher (62) died from head injuries hours after being struck by a car driven by Christopher Coleman (27).

Coleman, of Reuben Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Mr Maher (inset) at Clontarf Road, Dublin on June 30, 2015.

He had been banned from driving at the time and also admitted leaving the scene of the crash and to driving without insurance.

Numerous witnesses described the car coming out of nowhere on the inside bus lane while traffic was stopped at the red lights. Witnesses also saw the car travelling at speed earlier along the Clontarf Road and saw a front seat passenger hanging out of the window gesturing towards another car.

Screaming

There was cheering and roaring coming from the car shortly before the collision. One witness said he then heard screeching of brakes and screaming before the sound of the impact.

Coleman tried to stop by doing a handbrake turn and the car ended up spinning around. He drove off at speed, dangerously overtaking other cars.

He went to gardai six days after the collision and told them that he took full responsibility.

He said he was very sorry for not having the courage to stop at the scene and claimed he was trying to make an amber light.

Garda Linda Connaughton told the court that Coleman has 15 previous convictions including four for driving without insurance.

In November 2012 a court disqualified him from driving for six years. He was also disqualified from driving in January 2012 and in February 2009.

Torture

During an emotional sentence hearing the victim's daughter, Lisa Maher, read out three impact reports in which the Maher family described the torture of having to wait six days before their father's body was released because a suspect would have the legal right to carry out an independent autopsy.

Ms Maher said her father "lay on a slab in a morgue" for six long, agonising, painful days.

She said he was her hero, her mentor and her guide and was a generous and selfless man.

Marie Maher said her late husband always said "forgive and forget", but she added: "Right now I cannot find it in my heart to forgive. My life will never be the same again."

Stephen Maher said that while death is inevitable and that "we will all experience the death of a loved one", his father had been left for dead on a busy road.

In a letter to the court Coleman said he knew that he was responsible for causing life long suffering to the Maher family and would carry that guilt with him until the day he dies.

Judge Melanie Greally said she would take a week to consider the evidence before sentence.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News