Driver who killed three while making Snapchat videos loses sentence appeal

Keith Lennon (23) killed mother and son Mary (82) and Kevin (58) Faxton, from Bessbrook, Co Armagh, and Bryan Magill (24) from Newry, Co Down, while driving at 225km/h
Driver who killed three while making Snapchat videos loses sentence appeal

Peter Doyle

A killer driver who claimed the lives of three people when he ploughed into the back of another car as he made Snapchat videos while driving at 225km/h has failed in his bid to have his nine-year jail sentence reduced.

Keith Lennon (23) killed mother and son Mary (82) and Kevin (58) Faxton, from Bessbrook, Co Armagh, and Bryan Magill (24) from Newry, Co Down, when the 3-litre Audi he was driving at 105km/h above the speed limit hit the Faxton’s Peugeot 108 on the northbound carriageway of the N1.

Mr Magill had been a passenger in Lennon’s vehicle when the two-car collision occurred at Carrickarnon, Ravensdale, Dundalk, Co Louth, on February 29th, 2020.

Lennon later pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court.

Turned car into weapon

Sentencing him in February 2021, Judge Marina Baxter said Lennon had turned his car into a “weapon” on the night in question. She also banned him from driving for 20 years.

Lennon, of Forest Park, Dromintee, Co Armagh, later appealed the severity of his jail sentence.

But in an ex tempore judgment delivered on Friday in the Court of Appeal by Court President Mr Justice George Birmingham, sitting with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, Lennon’s bid to have the time he must serve behind bars reduced was rejected.

Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Birmingham said: “Clearly this was a case where a substantial custodial sentence was inevitable.”

He said Judge Baxter could have even placed the offending in the upper range for sentencing, “given the damage done and degree of recklessness involved”.

Noting that prior to the fatal collision “a powerful car was driven for long periods at very high speed”, he added that what had "set the case apart" was the Snapchat videos the accused had been making on his phone while driving at excessive speeds.

“It is difficult to find the language to describe how reckless that was,” Mr Justice Birmingham said.

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