herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Driver will be jailed for death of popular Irish student in UK

The late Joseph 'Jody' O'Reilly
The late Joseph 'Jody' O'Reilly

A driver who knocked down and killed an Irish university student in England has been warned to expect a lengthy jail term.

Fahid Saber will be sentenced next month after pleading guilty to causing the death of Joseph 'Jody' O'Reilly (right) by dangerous driving.

Mr O'Reilly (22), from Leixlip was on a night out in Birmingham when he was struck by Saber's Volkswagen Polo on December 15 last.

The Irishman, a student at the University of Wolverhampton, was pronounced dead shortly after the collision at 5.15am. The deceased was an Aston Villa fan and was due to watch them play on the day of his death.

The Kildare man lived on the Walsall campus of the university. Friends said he was "the most popular man on campus."

A Facebook page set up in Jody's memory gained 12,000 members.

Saber, of Bromford, Birmingham, also pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday to a separate charge of dangerous driving.

Granting Saber bail until a sentencing hearing on October 24, Judge Paul Farrer told him: "You have pleaded guilty to an offence of extreme seriousness and the inevitable sentence is a prison sentence, and a long prison sentence.

circumstances

"Notwithstanding that, you are 22 years of age and in the circumstances it seems right to me that the court has more information before deciding on the length of that sentence."

Officials at Aston Villa agreed to hold a minute's applause in memory of the student before a home fixture shortly after his death. Later, Villa dedicated their win over Sunderland to the Irish student.

Club manager Paul Lambert paid tribute to the fan who moved to the West Midlands to study in 2010.

"I'd like to dedicate the victory over Sunderland to Jody O'Reilly, who lost his life in tragic circumstances before he was due to come and support the team against Manchester United just before Christmas," Lambert said in January.

"I wasn't immediately aware of what happened, but as soon as I found out I made contact with one of his closest friends to pass on my best wishes and to let the family know they were in my thoughts and prayers.

"As a father of four I can't imagine what Jody's family are going through."

Jody was the son of Robert 'Bob' and Susan O'Reilly of Leixlip and was also survived by his brother Anthony, his girlfriend Emma, grandparents, and extended family.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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