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Monday 23 October 2017

Driver who killed granny may not face jail sentence

Carl Feighery who pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing death of Rose Douglas (77)
Carl Feighery who pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing death of Rose Douglas (77)

a Meath man who killed a 77-year-old woman when he knocked her down as she was crossing the road may avoid a jail term after a judge ruled that his driving didn't justify a custodial sentence.

When evidence was heard on Wednesday, the family of Rose Douglas said it was some comfort to them to know that she was not at fault when Carl Feighery (32) struck her.

Ms Douglas died from her injuries after she was knocked down by a car on the North Road, Finglas, Dublin 11, on January 9, 2013.

Yesterday Judge Martin Nolan adjourned the sentence until May to allow for a report from the Probation Service.

circumstances

He said he had to concentrate on the driving that gave rise to the offence and indicated that, after considering the evidence, he could not find any aggravating circumstances, such as drink driving, excessive speed or prolonged dangerous driving.

"He is guilty of losing focus," Judge Nolan said, which he described as "a human frailty".

He said in his opinion it would be unfair to imprison Feighery for this type of driving, "even though the consequences have been dreadful".

He remanded Feighery on bail, adjourned the case until May 5 next and disqualified him from driving for five years.

Feighery, an electrician with an address at Millbourne Crescent, Ashbourne, Co Meath, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing death.

Judge Nolan told the Douglas family that he was very sorry for their loss.

"She was a very fine person, an old-fashioned lady in the best sense of the word," he said.

Mrs Douglas' son Dermot read a victim impact statement to the court on behalf of his family.

He said his mother had been more than a wife, a mother of six, a grandmother of 15 and a great-grandmother of one; but had also been very active within the community and the church.

He said Mrs Douglas was a Minister for the Eucharist who went to Lourdes every year with the infirm and volunteered for the local St Francis' Hospice.

On the morning of her death, she left the house to collect charity boxes for the hospice from a local garage, telling her husband she was just popping out for a minute.

He said his father has not had a happy day since his wife of 60 years was killed. He said his family understands it was a tragic accident and that Feighery's early guilty plea has made their difficulties a little easier.

He said the Douglas family would like to think that, at some stage, Feighery would decide to do some charity work in memory of their late mother.

slowing

Garda Sean Kelly told the prosecution that Mrs Douglas had been crossing the second half of the dual carriage way when she was knocked down by a silver Peugeot car at 11.20am.

Eyewitness David Kelly, driving behind the Peugeot, told gardai he could see the lights turning red and noticed that the car ahead of him was not slowing down.

"I thought he definitely hadn't seen the lights. Mrs Douglas was three-quarters of the way across when he did react. I remember thinking had he just swerved instead of braking he would have avoided her," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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