Northern Ireland

Enda Dolan: Driver took drink and drugs before causing student's death

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Media captionEnda Dolan was a first-year architecture student at Queen's University, as Kevin Magee reports

A Belfast man consumed drink and drugs before driving his van and striking and killing a student, a court has heard.

Enda Dolan, 18, from County Tyrone, was in his first term at Queen's University when he died after being hit on Belfast's Malone Road in October 2014.

David Lee Stewart, of Gray's Park Avenue, drove with the teenager on the roof of his van for about 800 yards before he stopped.

The 31-year-old has admitted a series of charges linked to the collision.

Belfast Crown Court heard on Friday that Stewart said during a police interview he "would give up my own life for that wee lad".

"I am deeply sorry for it, deeply, deeply sorry," he told police.

"If I could turn back the clock I would."


Stewart is due to be sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving and four other motoring offences.

The court was told that Stewart's passenger, 21-year-old William Ross Casement, who he had been drinking with in the hours leading up to the collision, got out of the van when it hit Mr Dolan.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Mr Dolan was returning to his student accommodation on Belfast's Malone Road when he was hit

Witnesses saw him standing close to the student's body, which was on the road, before he returned to the van, which was then driven from the scene.

Prosecutors said he "must have been aware that at least very serious injury was caused".

Casement, from Belvoir Drive in Belfast, admits aiding and abetting dangerous driving, and aiding and abetting failing to remain at the scene of an accident where an injury had occurred.

A prosecution lawyer told the court that CCTV footage had shown both men were in a Belfast bar on Thursday 14 October.

Stewart took 13 drinks, including six pints of beer and four Jagerbombs, a mix of a spirit and an energy drink.


The men were later seen to "stagger on the road" before getting into the van.

It was driven to Donegall Square East, where the men went to a nightclub.

Image caption A blood test showed that Stewart was was three times over the legal alcohol limit for drivers

They left at 02:20 BST, and less than 10 minutes later Mr Dolan was dead.

Witnesses saw the van being driven dangerously, undertaking a taxi and speeding through a red traffic light.

Mr Dolan was walking to his student accommodation when the van mounted a footpath and hit him.

He sustained a broken neck and head injuries.

One witness said the van had taken off at speed and it crashed further up the road.

Casement was able to get out of the vehicle and Stewart had to be cut from the driver's seat.


The prosecution said Stewart was taken to hospital, where he twice refused to give a blood sample, claiming he had only drunk two pints of shandy.

But a sample taken later that morning indicated he was three times over the legal alcohol limit for drivers.

Traces of drugs, including cocaine, were also found in his system.

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Image caption Stewart accepted in a police interview that the van that struck Mr Dolan was his work vehicle

The prosecution said Stewart was "highly intoxicated" at the time of the crash and had "made two decisions to drive in that condition".

He added that Mr Dolan, from Killyclougher in Omagh, was "talented" both academically and in sporting terms and was "generous with his time with his family and the wider community".


A defence lawyer for Stewart said the father-of-three was "so intoxicated that evening that he was uncertain as to the events that occurred".

Stewart revoked his own bail while on remand, and his wife Samantha told the court: "He couldn't go out, after what he had done.

"He had no life. He took somebody else's, he just couldn't get on with his own."

A barrister representing Casement said his client "reflected on a daily basis" about the incident.

He said Casement "deeply regrets becoming involved in the course of events that led to the death of Mr Dolan".

Both men were remanded in custody ahead of sentencing.

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