Londonderry driver guilty of killing woman escapes jail

DERRY Bishop's Street Court house

A 41-year-old man who accidentally knocked down and killed his neighbour in a road traffic accident in Londonderry last year has escaped prison.

Laurence Michael Conaghan from Lisfannon Park, was given a six month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and disqualified from driving for two years.

He was told by Judge Piers Grant at Londonderry Crown Court that he would have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life.

Conaghan pleaded guilty to a charge of causing the death by careless driving of 65-year-old Sarah Patricia Duffy at the Lecky Road flyover pedestrian crossing on March 12th 2011.

Mrs Duffy was on her way back to her Lisfannon Park home from mass when she was struck by a people carrier driven by the defendant.

She had taken just two steps onto the pedestrian crossing.

The judge said Mrs Duffy had been concerned about this particular pedestrian crossing and had expressed her concerns to her family about her own safety there.

Judge Grant said he accepted the level of carelessness by the defendant was at the lower end of the scale.

He said the defendant had an absolutely clear record, he had driven for many years accident free, he did not drink alcohol and speed was not a factor.

He accepted the defendant's remorse was genuine and that the defendant was aware of the devastation he had caused to Mrs Duffy's family.