Northern Ireland

Che Kane given suspended sentence for crash deaths

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionRostrevor crash victim's father brands sentence 'a joke'

A teenager who pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of two 17-year-olds has been given a suspended sentence.

Che Kane, 19, from St Anne's Park, Mayobridge, County Down, admitted causing the deaths of James Miskelly and Eoin Farrell by driving carelessly.

They died after the car Kane was driving left a road near Rostrevor, and struck a house, causing an oil tank fire, before coming to rest in a field.

The father of Eoin Farrell said the sentence was a "joke".

"We're just gobsmacked, dumbfounded as to how that can happen," said Gerard Farrell.

"I feel that we, the Farrell and Miskelly families, have been let down."

Image caption The court heard that Che Kane felt "shame and remorse" over what happened

The judge described it as a "sad and heartbreaking case".

He told Kane that "the consequences of your driving proved to be cataclysmic".

He added that it would be "little comfort to the relatives" of the two victims, but that Kane would have to "carry for the rest of his days the knowledge and shame that he is responsible for causing the deaths of two young men".

The court heard that Kane has expressed genuine "shame and remorse" that his actions caused the untimely deaths of his two acquaintances.

Image caption James Miskelly and Eoin Farrell died in the crash in September 2015

The crash happened on the Kilbroney Road on 14 September 2015.

Kane, who was then a restricted driver, lost control of the car he was driving and it left the road, ploughed through the front garden and wall of an elderly woman's home and into an oil tank before coming to rest on its roof in a field.

The oil tank caught fire and caused the house to be badly damaged.

The judge outlined in court that there was much debate over the cause of the crash but said that two expert engineer reports estimated that the car was travelling between 37-39mph in a 60mph zone when Kane lost control.

Image caption The house was badly damaged after the car struck an oil tank, causing it to go on fire

The judge said that he "cannot ignore" expert evidence, which opined the loss of control was caused by low-tyre pressure that required different handling by the driver, the relative inexperience of Kane behind the wheel and the camber of the road.

The judge said this was a "lethal cocktail of circumstances" that, in his view, put Kane's culpability at the lower end of the scale.

The court was told that Kane, who was critically injured in the crash, could not remember the circumstances leading up to what happened.

The judge told the court that he had received two psychiatric reports that deemed this to be genuine amnesia brought about by the "emotional and mental" stress of the situation.

Eoin Farrell's father, Gerald, said he "can't comprehend" the view that the car was travelling at a lower speed.

Image caption The car left the road and ploughed through a garden on 14 September 2015

"To say that you were driving in excess of 38-39mph when the devastation that was there - in my eyes, if you're doing 38mph you would go down and land beside the house.

"You wouldn't hit a wall, engine drop out of it (the car), hit a pillar and travel another 30ft in mid-air and go through a tree - I don't think so."

He added: "It feels like the Farrells and Miskellys are on trial.

"The justice system has done nothing for us, absolutely nothing in my eyes."

More on this story