Father will never forget son’s ‘senseless’ death

A FATHER told a court how his family will never forget New Year’s Eve 2008 as Padraig, his youngest of nine children, was killed in a “senseless accident”.

Padraig Bourke, 16, died along with two of his friends, Stuart Donnellan, 14 and Adrian O’Brien, 17.

Padraig’s father, Seamus told Nenagh Circuit Court that reading the victim impact statement was “the hardest thing he has ever done in his life”.

Mr Bourke said the death of his son was a life sentence for his family.

The Co Tipperary teenagers were passengers in a car being driven by their friend, Thomas Clarke, who was 16 at the time.

Clarke drank 12 bottles of beer and a bottle of wine in the hours leading up to the accident, which took place Kilboy, Dolla, Co Tipperary. Clarke purchased the car for €150 just days before.

Yesterday, Clarke, now aged 18, was jailed for two years and banned from driving for 12 years. He had earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death.

The 18-year-old also pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol on the same date. He also admitted having no driver’s licence and no insurance.

The court heard inappropriate speed was the primary cause of the accident.

The court heard the teenager was driving the car with four of his friends at about 7pm in the direction of Dolla, when he overtook two vehicles on a bend on the road.

He was drinking a bottle of Budweiser while driving and one of his passengers, Kelsea Tiernan, who was 15 at the time and who survived the crash, told gardaí the teenager was “driving like a lunatic”.

The court heard that minutes later Clarke lost control of his car and it crashed into a tree. Stuart Donnellan and Adrian O’Brien were killed at the scene while Padraig Bourke was taken to Nenagh General Hospital where he died a short time later.

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