Northern Ireland

William Moore sentenced for killing friend in crash

A drunk driver who killed his friend in a fatal crash has been sentenced to ten and a half years.

William Moore, 28, from Thorndale Avenue, Belfast, was convicted in June of causing the death of Darren Brown by dangerous driving.

The accident happened on the Belfast to Saintfield Road on 25 April 2009.

The sentence was welcomed by the mother of Mr Brown, who was a former friend of Moore.

Downpatrick Crown Court heard that a speeding drunken Moore clipped one car as he drove along the Belfast to Saintfield Road before over taking the vehicle and losing control as he tried to veer back onto his own side of the road and careered down an embankment before smashing head-long into a tree.

While Mr Brown - a back seat passenger died at the scene - a badly injured Moore crawled from the passenger side of the car.

Moore denied he was the driver when the crash happened and claimed that the owner of the car had admitted being the driver.

However, forensic examination of the vehicle and of Moore's injuries were conclusive that he was the driver, while his front seat passenger, who had claimed he was the driver, but later retracted his confession, had been flung into the driver's seat.

'Danger'

Judge David Smyth said that although Moore had attempted "to put the blame for this accident on another person, who may well have been encouraging" him to behave in the way he did, the forensic evidence against him had been overwhelming.

He told Moore that by drinking on the evening of the crash, the circumstances were "such that you deliberately and consciously presented a danger to anyone driving on the Belfast to Saintfield Road".

Moore will serve at least five years and three months in prison after which he will be released on over five years supervised parole.

Darren Brown's mother Doreen said she was initially "shocked" at the sentence, thinking he was "just going to get two years".

However, while Moore will serve longer for killing her son, "nothing can ever bring Darren back", she added.

After handing down the sentence at Downpatrick Crown Court, Judge David Smyth was accused by Moore of "stitching him up".

The judge told Moore that his ranting was yet another "indication of how you will never accept your responsibility for causing this accident".