'Why did you drive away and leave him?': Taxi driver (75) jailed for four years for failing to stop after fatal collision in Cork 

'Why did you drive away and leave him?': Taxi driver (75) jailed for four years for failing to stop after fatal collision in Cork 

The prison term was imposed on the pensioner despite the fact that he had pleaded guilty, stopped driving after that day and had no previous convictions of any kind.

A 75-year-old taxi driver was jailed for four years for failing to stop after a fatal collision that resulted in the death of consultant psychiatrist Dr Martin Lawlor in December 2018.

Denis McSweeney was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin to a term of five years imprisonment with the last year suspended.

The judge said it was callous not to have remained at the scene of the collision.

The prison term was imposed on the pensioner despite the fact that he had pleaded guilty, stopped driving after that day and had no previous convictions of any kind.

The deceased’s sister, Dr Susan Lawlor, said to Denis McSweeney today during the sentencing hearing, “I will never speak your name following today. It doesn’t deserve the breath of air required to enunciate it. 

"Why did you drive away and leave him at the side of the road? Why didn’t you ring for help? All life is precious and to treat it otherwise is unfathomable to most.

“We will never forgive you for what you did, never.” 

The deceased’s wife Helen Murphy Lawlor spoke on behalf of herself and her three children who at the time of their father’s death were 18, 14 and 12.

“The circumstances of his passing remain very difficult to come to terms with. Being unable to say goodbye was hard and cruel. 

"For such a good, caring man to be left on the road to die alone and that the driver left the scene seemingly without compassion or concern, is very difficult for us to comprehend.

“We are very happy together as a family and have beautiful memories to sustain us in our grief. We are very proud of Martin. May he rest in peace,” Helen Murphy Lawlor said by video link from the family home in Manchester.

Donal O’Sullivan barrister said the accused panicked in leaving the scene and he apologised to the family of the deceased.

The judge said that regrettably it was not panic, it was callousness on the part of the taxi driver.

Denis McSweeney of 206 Pouaduff Road, Ballyphehane, Cork, pleaded guilty to 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 count states that on December 15 2018 at Kinsale Road, 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, Det. Garda Brid Norris said in the course of her outline of the background to the case.

More in this section

Sponsored Content