Saturday 23 February 2019

Speeding driver who drank four glasses of wine before fatal crash faces sentence

Lee Peacock (25), with an address at Seafield Court in Rush, Co Dublin was charged earlier this year with dangerous driving causing the death of Ms Jane Dardis.
Lee Peacock (25), with an address at Seafield Court in Rush, Co Dublin was charged earlier this year with dangerous driving causing the death of Ms Jane Dardis.

A man charged with careless driving causing the death of his close friend will be sentenced this morning.

Lee Peacock (25) had consumed four glasses of wine over a number of hours before the collision and was travelling at 80kph in a 60kph zone.

He told gardai initially he had swerved prior to the accident to avoid an oncoming car, but later said it was to avoid a pedestrian on the road.

He later accepted the deceased woman, Jane Dardis, had in fact put her hand on the steering wheel prior to the collision but said she had not been messing and had jerked it in fright when they saw a pedestrian. Peacock said he then swerved to avoid the pedestrian.

He said he had not wanted to attribute any blame to Ms Dardis.


Peacock, of Seafield Court, Lower Main Street, Rush, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to careless driving causing the death of Ms Dardis at Rush Road, Skerries, on October 25, 2016.

Judge Martin Nolan expressed his condolences to Ms Dardis's family and said the facts were unclear, so he wished to think about it overnight.

Judge Nolan remanded Peacock on continuing bail until this morning when he will finalise the case.

A victim impact statement from Ms Dardis's family described themselves as now being a "heartbroken, devastated family of three" without her.

Roisin Lacey SC, defending, said Peacock had made admissions from the start about his drinking and excessive speed.

She said Peacock had a close relationship with Ms Dardis and has been significantly traumatised by her death. She said the family's tragedy is deeply acknowledged and deeply regretted by him.

Ms Lacey said Peacock had grown up in foster care and had supported himself from the age of 18. She said the father-of-one hopes to have a continued career in the hospitality industry, and has written a letter in which she said he accepts his responsibility.

Counsel asked the court to take into account the way he has met the case, his lack of convictions and that gardai accept he is unlikely to come before the courts again. She asked Judge Nolan to consider a non-custodial sentence.

Ms Lacey said Peacock had made a very grave error which weighs heavily on him and will do for the rest of his life.

After the accident, Peacock told gardai that he, Ms Dardis and other friends had been drinking after work and decided to go back to her house. He said he had four glasses of wine between 9pm and 12.15am.

He said that he did not feel drunk or tired and did not think he was over the limit. He said he did not notice that Ms Dardis was not wearing her seat belt.

Gardai were unable to identify any cars or pedestrians in the area. One witness said a taxi driver had told him that he had seen three men running down the road.

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