A man who fatally knocked down a cyclist when he drove a car at speed through a red light has been jailed for two and a half years.
Eugene Maher, aged 62, died from head injuries hours after being struck by a car driven by Christopher Coleman, aged 27. He had been banned from driving at the time and had never held a driving licence.
Coleman, of Reuben Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Mr Maher at Clontarf Rd, Dublin on June 30, 2015. He also admitted leaving the scene of the crash and to driving without insurance.
Judge Melanie Greally offered her sympathies to the Maher family and said the grief and anger they experienced was palpable. She commended the family on conducting themselves with great dignity.
She described the family’s victim impact statements as “powerful and moving” in describing the scale of loss of a man in the prime of his life and at the heart and soul of his family.
Judge Greally said that after reviewing the authorities and factors in the case she had placed it at the lower half of the medium band. The maximum sentence for dangerous driving causing death is 10 years. She imposed a two-and-a-half-year sentence and disqualified him from driving for 15 years.
Coleman told gardaí that he was “so sorry for the family” of Mr Maher. He said he panicked after the crash because he had been banned from driving.
During an emotional sentence hearing the victim’s daughter, Lisa Maher, read three impact reports in which her family described the torture of having to wait six days before their father’s body was released to them.
Ms Maher said her father “lay on a slab in a morgue” for six long, agonising, painful days. She said Mr Maher was her hero, her mentor, and her guide and was a generous and selfless man.
Marie Maher said her late husband always said “forgive and forget” but said: “Right now I cannot find it in my heart to forgive. My life will never be the same again.”
Stephen Maher said that while death is inevitable and that “we will all experience the death of a loved one”, his father had been left for dead on a busy road.
In a letter to the court, Coleman said he knows that he is responsible for causing life long suffering to the Maher family and will carry that guilt until the day he dies.
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