Driver who killed cousin with car jailed

Published Friday, 28 March 2014
Comments
Toggle font size
Print

A Tyrone man who mowed down and killed his cousin following a disagreement over a garden shed has been handed a three-year sentence.

Driver who killed cousin with car jailed
The family give their reaction outside the courts. (© Pacemaker)

On Friday, Dungannon Crown Court judge Mr Justice Weir told Anthony Joseph Quinn, 23, that he will spend 18 months in prison followed by 18 months on supervised licence upon his release from custody for a "serious case of bad driving" which resulted in the death of 37-year old Declan Quinn.

As he was being led from the dock Quinn turned to face members of Declan's family who were sitting in the public gallery. He gestured with three fingers, winked and smiled at them.

Despite this, the grieving family maintained a dignified silence but were visibly upset outside the courtroom.

Quinn, from Maplebrook Hill, Coalisland, was originally charged with murdering and causing the death by dangerous driving of his second cousin Declan Quinn, but the charges were withdrawn when he pleaded guilty to his manslaughter.

Mr Justice Weir, sitting in Belfast's Laganside courthouse, told Quinn that on 16 July, 2011 he "deliberately" drove in the direction of two men, adding "you didn't stop after impact, but drove on."

Quinn, a disqualified driver, was driving a Vauxhall Corsa on the Gortgonis Road in the Co Tyrone town, when he hit his cousin who was flung over the bonnet of the car into the air.

He later claimed that he thought the 37-year-old had been armed with a handgun, but there was no evidence to suggest this was the case.

Declan, who suffered brain injuries, a severed spinal cord, broken neck and two broken legs, died in hospital two days after the fateful collision following his family's decision to turn off the life support machine.

The court heard that Declan's brother Joseph, who is a priest, administered the Last Rites to his brother, who sustained what the Judge described as "catastrophic injuries."

We lost a son, a brother, an uncle and a friend with a smile that brightened all who knew Declan. Declan can never be replaced and we will never see him again or enjoy his company.

Family statement

Earlier this week, prosecuting QC Philip Mateer, reading from a set of agreed facts, said that Quinn had gone to his father's home in his grandmother's car after receiving a call shortly before 9am that morning, that his house was under attack by three men.

The intruders, two of Quinn's cousins, and another man, had gone to his father's to complain about a shed which had been set on fire.

As Quinn arrived, the men were leaving, and as he reversed away, he was chased in a Mercedes car by one cousin, while another cousin Declan Quinn and a third man chased after him on foot.

Mr Mateer said Quinn managed to give the Mercedes the slip by doing a hand-brake turn and was returning in the direction of his father's when he came upon the other two men on a traffic island on the main road.

The court heard that Quinn initially told police he had believed all three men had been armed, one with a handgun, one with a sledge hammer and the other with a hammer.

A witness also claimed the men were armed, but that the third man was carrying a spade.

However, police only recovered a claw hammer from the scene.

Mr Mateer later agreed it would be "difficult ....to exclude the possibility that in the mind of the accused, he thought either one of the men had a gun" when he struck his cousin whilst travelling at between 29-39 mph in a 30 mph zone, causing him irreversible, irretrievable damage to his spine.

Defence QC Eilis McDermott said that Quinn had played no part in instigating events that fateful morning.

She said that on arrival to assist his father, he found three men and then later believed he was about to be shot during events "which he found fast moving and terrifying."

Speaking of the impact Declan's death has had on his family, Mr Justice Weir said he hoped they gained comfort from that fact that his death had helped "no less than eight others waiting for transplants" as he was a registered organ donor.

The lives of several people - some of whom were children - were changed forever by Declan's family who followed his final wish to have his organs donated.

Among those helped was a then four-year-old girl, blind from birth, who saw her parent for the first time through Declan's donated corneas, while another child, a cancer sufferer, received his liver.

Speaking on behalf of the family and with his mother Veronica at his side, Father Joseph Quinn read a prepared statement, part of which read:

"We hope and pray that he nightmare will end today with the decision of the Judge and the end of this long drawn out case.

"We as a family wish to move on with our lives and while as a family we have suffered the pain of great grief at the tragic loss of Declan, we have forgiven Tony Quinn for the terrible loss and pain that he has inflicted on us.

"We accept the apology and outpouring of remorse Tony Quinn has made through his barrister about the killing of Declan."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
2 Comments
D in belfast wrote (239 days ago):
18 months?
RGC in Mid-Ulster wrote (240 days ago):
3 yrs....and sounds like he was devastated not to mention full of remorse over his crime. Getting sick of reading about pathetically inadequate sentences.
POST A COMMENT:
Name:  
Email address*:    
Location:  
Validation:
House Rules:  
Your Comment:  
[All comments are moderated and will not appear immediately. Your name, location and comment will be displayed on this page if your post passes moderation.]
MOST POPULAR GALLERIES
Flash flooding
Thu 13 November 2014
I
Wed 12 November 2014
The X Factor Live: Week 4
Sat 01 November 2014