Northern Ireland

County Tyrone: Drunk-driver jailed for fatal crash

Omagh Crown Court
Image caption Paul Nicholl admitted causing death by careless driving with excess alcohol and causing grievous bodily injury

A drunk-driver, who admitted killing a man in a crash near Sion Mills, County Tyrone, has been jailed for two years and six months.

Paul Nicholl, 50, of Carnkenny Road, Newtownstewart, drank beer and took diazepam before the collision in January 2014.

Patrick McCroary, 62, who was travelling towards Strabane with his wife and children, died in the crash.

The rest of the family survived.

In victim impact statements read at Omagh Crown Court, the family said the loss of Mr McCroary and the injuries they suffered in the crash had changed their lives forever.

The court heard Nicholl had suffered from addiction his whole life and was almost two and a half times the legal drink-drive limit when the crash happened.

'Devastation'

He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving with excess alcohol and causing grievous bodily injury.

The judge said: "The people of County Tyrone are no strangers to the scourge of death on our roads.

"The McCroary family are not the first to be visited with grief and bereavement arising out of the carnage on our roads nor will they be the last, and we have had poignant reminders in recent times of the devastation such offences cause.

"I take into account the timely plea of guilty, the remorse, the lack of a relevant driving record and the fact that he himself sustained injuries but I cannot overlook the very high reading almost two and a half times the legal limit."

Nicholl will serve two years and six months in prison, followed by a further two years and six months on licence and was disqualified from driving for six years.