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Friday 28 July 2017

Garda car 9.5 seconds behind vehicle before fatal crash, inquest told

Sinead Maguire
Sinead Maguire

A Garda patrol car was travelling 9.5 seconds behind a vehicle that crashed at high speed, resulting in the death of a back seat passenger, an inquest heard.

Sinead Maguire (43), of Bayview Avenue, Dublin 3, died when the car she was travelling in hit a pole at the junction of Malahide Road and Clontarf Road at 1.52am on May 29, 2014.

Her mother, Lillian Maguire, said she feels vindicated by the outcome of the inquest.

"We've been told so many lies but the cameras don't lie. The proof was in the CCTV footage. I'm so angry about how we have been treated," Ms Maguire said after the inquest.

The jury at Dublin Coroner's Court returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

Garda James Newman was driving the marked squad car, a Ford Focus. He said he was about 35 to 40 seconds behind the Toyota Avensis, in which Ms Maguire was a back seat passenger.

Chasing

The family's legal representative, David Langwallner, asked the garda if he was chasing the car.

"No. I wasn't close enough to be chasing it," Gda Newman said.

Garda Terry Moore was in the passenger seat of the patrol car. He said he lost sight of the car before it crashed.

"We were never close enough to be involved in a chase," Gda Moore said. Asked if they were following the car, he said "yes".

"We were attempting to stop it," he said.

Forensic Collision Investigator Sergeant Edward Davin said the driver attempted to take a right turn at the junction of Malahide Road and Fairview at excessive speed. The speed on impact was 82kmh.

Gardai were travelling 9.5 seconds behind the car 160m north of the crash site, according to CCTV footage.

Ms Maguire was not wearing a seatbelt.

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission investigated the incident and sent a file to the DPP. No prosecution was directed and there was no disciplinary action taken in relation to the case.

The driver of the car, Eric Wansboro, is currently serving an eight-year sentence for dangerous driving causing death.

Neither he nor front seat passenger Ian McDonagh have any recollection of the crash.

Ruined

"To this day, my memory is ruined," Mr McDonagh told the coroner.

Dublin Fire Brigade responder Peter Hendrick treated Mr McDonagh at the scene. "He was verbal, conscious and communicating," Mr Hendrick said.

He scored the man full marks on the Glasgow Coma Scale, used to record the conscious state of patients.

Sinead Maguire died due to neck, chest and abdominal injuries as a result of the collision.

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