Drunk driver who killed teenager ‘fooled the court’

The heartbroken mother of a teenager killed by a man with almost 500 convictions says she will never be able to forgive him.

Drunk driver who killed teenager ‘fooled the court’

Shane Patton had just completed his Leaving Certificate when he was killed by a car being driven at 165km/h by serial offender Eamon Lynch at Drumkeen in Co Donegal.

Father-of-three Lynch pleaded guilty to careless driving causing Shane’s death and was jailed for 18 months.

Lynch, who has more than 280 traffic offences as well as 50 offences for burglary, said he knew the heartache which the grieving Patton family, from Drumkeen, were going through.

But last night, Julie Patton, a civil servant, said Lynch fooled the court and she did not believe he was sorry at all: “I do not accept his apology and neither does my husband Martin or our family.

“I know he said sorry but I do not believe him. Look at all the convictions he has. He did not fool me but he fooled the court. He had plenty of time and he knew exactly what to say to make it look like he was sorry.”

Speaking from her home at Cloghroe, Drumkeen, she said her family had been told Lynch would plead guilty to the lesser charge of careless driving causing death which carried a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

However, she said herself and her husband thought the 18-month sentence would only start this week when Lynch was sentenced and not be backdated to when he was arrested in November last. “We honestly didn’t think it would be backdated and that’s disappointing. He will only serve one Christmas behind bars but my Shane will never see another Christmas,” she said.

The court also heard how Lynch, who had been drinking with his partner in a forest before the smash, had no driving licence, NCT, tax or insurance.

Shane died on July 12, 2012, when Lynch’s Toyota Celica ploughed into his VW Bora at 165km/h.

Ms Patton said there is not a day that goes by that herself, husband Martin, and Shane’s younger sister and brother Dina and Jason, do not laugh and cry when remembering the teenager.

Julie said her two children keep themselves busy by playing lots of sport but they cannot bring themselves to discuss what happened to Shane with their friends. She said time heals a little but nothing will ever fully help herself or her family to get over the horrific loss.

“It’s the simple things which bring it all back to you like setting the table for four people instead of five. He’ll never be forgotten but we just wish he was here.”

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