A DRUG addict who knocked down and killed a mother-of-four while she was shopping with her sister has received a three and a half year sentence and a 30-year driving ban.
Philip Trimble (35) told gardaí he wished it was him who had died and not the victim. He took to the stand at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to express his remorse to the family.
Trimble, of Oscar Traynor Road, Santry, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Coombe midwife Frances McCarthy (56) on Middle Abbey Street in Dublin on January 11, 2013.
He also pleaded guilty to driving with no insurance and failing to comply with road markings on the same date. He has 12 previous convictions for drugs offences and burglary.
The court heard Trimble had been driving at over 50mph when his car mounted a footpath and hit a roadside signpost near Marks and Spencer.
Ms McCarthy was run over by the car and, despite several attempts by paramedics to resuscitate her, she was pronounced dead at the Mater Hospital a short time later.
Her sister, Mary O’Connor, and a third pedestrian, Brian Sexton, were lifted onto the bonnet, carried some yards and thrown to the ground in the same collision.
Other witnesses described how the car’s driver lit a cigarette and seemed more concerned about his vehicle afterwards.
Trimble struggled to give his address and phone number and became aggressive with a garda.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring expressed her condolences to the deceased’s family, noting that Ms McCarthy “seems to have been an extraordinary woman”.
She heard that a specialised unit in the Coombe where Ms McCarthy had worked has been named after her and bears her photo.
In a victim impact statement read on his behalf, Ms McCarthy’s husband described how life as he knew it “came to a sudden end” when his wife of 27 years was killed.
Denis McCarthy said he brought his wife a cup of tea before leaving for work and that the last thing she had said on the phone was to ask him what he would like for dinner.
Her final text to him had been: “What would I do without you?”.
In sentencing Trimble, Judge Ring noted that the father-of-four said he was on methadone but there had been no trace of the substance in his system on the day of the crash.
His breathalyser test also came back negative.
Judge Ring noted that though a psychologist’s report indicated that a condition like epilepsy could explain Trimble’s behaviour, there was no evidence of this in court.
She said it is “very easy to forget the power of a vehicle, either large or small”. She added that in this case a smaller vehicle had caused a death as easily as a lorry.
The judge commented that there is little done to see if a person, having passed the driving test at 20-years-old, still knows the rules of the road aged 50.
She accepted Trimble’s remorse and early plea and suspended the final 12 months of the sentence for 12 months.
Mr McCarthy said his life without his wife, best friend and soul mate was “truly awful” and that he missed her constantly.
He spoke of the devastation and crushing loss felt by himself, his four children and by his wife’s family, singling out her elderly mother.
“When I brought her mother to see her youngest child laid out, it was the hardest blow of all,” he said.