Man, 74, charged with hit and run offences arising out of a fatal road traffic collision in Cork 

Man, 74, charged with hit and run offences arising out of a fatal road traffic collision in Cork 
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A 74-year-old motorist was arrested today and charged with four hit-and-run offences arising out of a road traffic collision resulting in the death of consultant psychiatrist Martin Lawlor in December 2018.

Detective Garda Bríd Norris of Togher Garda Station arrested Denis McSweeney of 206 Pouladuff Rd, Ballyphehane, Cork, and brought him before Cork District Court on four charges.

He replied “guilty” to the first two charges when arrested, charged, and cautioned, and made no reply to the third and fourth counts.

Sergeant John Kelleher said the DPP had directed trial by indictment.

Defence solicitor Frank Buttimer said the accused was prepared to sign pleas of guilty to all four charges. He admitted all four charges related to hit and run, namely failing to give appropriate information to gardaí, failing to keep the vehicle at or near the occurrence, failing to report an occurrence, and failing to stop his vehicle after an occurrence.

All four charges refer to the death of the 49-year-old psychiatrist.

The first charge states that, on December 15, 2018, at Kinsale Rd, Cork, being the driver of a vehicle, with a 151 registration, which was involved in the occurrence of a road traffic collision that resulted in the death of Martin Lawlor, did fail to give on demand appropriate information to An Garda Síochána.

The deceased was a consultant psychiatrist at Carrig Mór psychiatric intensive care unit at Shanakiel, Cork.

Judge Olann Kelleher returned the case against Mr McSweeney to Cork Circuit Criminal Court tomorrow. There was no Garda objection to the defendant being released on bail until then. Mr Buttimer was appointed to represent the pensioner on free legal aid.

Last year at the Coroner’s Court, Inspector Ronan Kennelly told the inquest into the death of Dr Lawlor, a father of three, that gardaí had compiled a detailed file on the hit and run. Detective Garda Bríd Norris testified at the inquest that Dr Lawlor was walking up the Airport Rd in Cork after 5am on December 15, 2018, when he was hit by a car.

Gardaí received a phone call at 5.41am on that date to report there was a body on Airport Rd between Forge Hill and the entrance to the airport and responded immediately.

Garda Jeremy O’Leary arrived at the scene at 5.45am and found the body and a wallet containing a driving licence which confirmed he was Dr Lawlor with an address at Claramore, Millstreet, Co Cork. Dr Lawlor was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy found Dr Lawlor had suffered multiple catastrophic injuries which would have proved instantly fatal.

A native of Tralee, Co Kerry, Dr Lawlor and his wife, Helen, a native of Millstreet, Co Cork, lived in Manchester with their three children. It is understood he had been due to catch a flight from Cork to the UK early on the morning of December 15.

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