Northern Ireland

Enda Dolan: Man sentenced to seven years for killing student

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe father of a student knocked down and killed by a drunk driver says he is "disappointed and disgusted" with the seven year sentence handed down by the court.

A drunk driver who knocked down and killed a student has been sentenced to seven years.

Enda Dolan, 18, from County Tyrone, was in his first term at Queen's University when he was struck by a van on Belfast's Malone Road in October 2014.

David Lee Stewart, 31, of Gray's Park Avenue, admitted a series of charges linked to the teenager's death.

He will spend three and a half years in prison and the same amount of time on licence.

'Disgusted'

Speaking outside Belfast Crown Court, Enda's father Peter Dolan said the family was "disappointed and disgusted" at the length of sentence handed down.

"Our lives have been ruined, shattered and damaged beyond repair," he said.

Image caption Enda Dolan was a first-year architecture student at Queen's University

Describing Northern Ireland's legal system as "a disgrace", Mr Dolan said: "We have been left with a life sentence. So many parents have stood in our shoes...and many more will in the future, unless something is done to deter individuals from driving under the influence of drink and drugs."

Enda was walking to his student accommodation when a van mounted a footpath and hit him.

He sustained a broken neck and head injuries.

A judge described the death as "senseless and needless".

Stewart was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.

The passenger in the car with Stewart, William Ross Casement, 21, from Belvoir Drive, Belfast, was given 50 hours community service and two years on probation.

He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.

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

During his trial, the court heard that Stewart, who had consumed drink and drugs before driving his van, drove with the teenager on the roof of his van for about 800 yards before he stopped.

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

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

Peter Dolan described Enda as "an adored son, big brother, grandson, boyfriend and friend" who was "so full of excitement during his last three weeks of life since he started Queen's".

He said the student loved to return to his home in Killyclogher at the weekends to see his family and girlfriend before his life was "brutally ended on the the night of his sister's 16th birthday".

"We have to deal with the loss of Enda every hour of every day for the rest of our lives. The missed family celebrations, the Christmases, the 21st birthday he won't have and the wedding and grandchildren that will never be."

More on this story