The car in which a 16-year-old girl was killed in a dangerous driving escapade by another teenager in Cork looked like someone place a bomb under it, the sentencing judge said.
Garda Brian Holland said the driver ran from the scene where the girl died and another boy in the car sustained serious injuries. It took more than two months of investigation before he was arrested and charged.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said at the sentencing, “Some people (who witnessed the crash) did not make statements of identification notwithstanding what happened.
The teenaged driver who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death of the girl and serious injury to the boy, and fleeing the scene, was remanded in detention to Oberstown for sentencing on March 3.
Judge Ó Donnabháin explained to the girl’s mother that a recent decision by one of the superior courts meant that her daughter could not be named in any press coverage of the case.
She said, “(Her daughter’s name) has been mentioned from day one.”
The judge said, “The law is not as perceptive as you are.”
He added that he could make an order the next day allowing her to be named, depending on the views of the girl’s mother.
She was a front passenger when the car crashed near her home in Cork. Her mother said she was haunted by the sound of the crash which she heard from her home and would never forget.
The 17 year-old defendant cannot be named because he is a juvenile. The girl cannot be named because of a Court of Appeal interpretation of the Children’s Act.
Det Garda Brian Holland told how the emergency services arrived at the scene just before midnight, they found the 16 year-old-girl fatally injured in the front seat of the badly damaged car and she was pronounced dead at the scene by a local doctor.
The 18-year-old rear seat passenger had suffered serious injuries and he was removed from the car after firefighters cut off the roof and he was rushed to CUH to undergo surgery. His injuries included a fracture of the skull and multiple other fractures.
He has regained the use of his limbs but he is working with a speech and language therapist while he also suffers from post-traumatic amnesia and he has no recollection of the collision.
The defendant bought the car on DoneDeal on February 16 2020 but after the fatal collision, he went and changed the name of the seller, the car registration and the car type on the ad.
Det. Garda Holland said the driver was travelling at a minimum of 119km per hour along a road which was governed by a 50kph speed limit when it crashed.
The girl’s sister delivered a Victim Impact Statement on behalf of her mother in which she told how their lives were changed forever by the death of her daughter in the crash outside their house.
“I was waiting for my daughter to come home and I jumped with horror from the bang outside my door – with severe fright, we ran to the front door to discover the fatal car crash,” she said.
“I rang my daughter’s phone to see where she was – her phone at this stage was ringing out – little did I realise at that point that my child was lying dead in the car that had crashed in front of our house.
The dead girl’s sister told how she will never be the same person after hearing the horrific crash and running out on to the street to see her sister dead in the car, as the image continues to haunt her.
“Her death has changed me as a person mentally and I will never be able to accept it or get over it – I miss her so much and knowing I will not see her again until it is my day, kills me,” she said.
The dead girl’s other sister also spoke of the impact it had on her and she told how learning it was her sister who was killed in the car crash by their house turned her life upside down for ever.
Defence counsel Tom Creed SC said his client had pleaded guilty to the charges and spared the girl’s family the trauma of a trial and he was very remorseful for what happened as they were all friends.
He said the defendant had no previous convictions of any kind. He also said the defendant was assaulted when he got out of the car. One witness described a dozen people assault him. Garda Holland said CCTV showed one person doing so.