Northern Ireland

Dungiven farmer death: Driver Keelan O'Neill avoids jail

Londonderry court

A County Londonderry man who admitted causing the death of a farmer after falling asleep at the wheel has been given a suspended sentence.

Keelan O'Neill, 20, of Knock Cullen outside Dungiven, crashed into a tractor on Glenshane Road in 2009.

Elderly farmer Anthony McCloskey died after he was thrown from his vehicle.

A judge said the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash were exceptional and sentenced O'Neill to 15 months in jail suspended for two years.

He also banned him from driving for five years.

The accident in which the 77-year-old farmer died happened near Dungiven in September 2009.

Judge Piers Grant was told that O'Neill had acknowledged the loss of the McCloskey family and had attended the farmer's wake and funeral.

Since the tragedy O'Neill said he had suffered from sleep loss and nightmares.