‘Family must live with life sentence’
9 June 2021
The mother of a Newry man who was killed on the A1 three years ago has said it is her and her family who must live with a life sentence after a man and woman were given community service for causing his death.
Karl Heaney was driving from Newry towards Belfast on May 23, 2018, when he encountered two cars driving on the wrong side of the road near Banbridge.
The 27-year-old managed to avoid the first car but was struck by the second.
Army captain Donald Hughes, 35, of Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, and Shelagh McMahon, 33, of Ardcollum Avenue, Dublin, were convicted of causing Mr Heaney’s death by careless driving on Monday (June 8).
Newry Crown Court heard that earlier on the evening in question, they had met for the first time at the Halfway House, a pub and restaurant near the A1, just outside Banbridge.
They later decided to travel in separate cars to Carlingford but rather than crossing the central reservation to turn right, they turned right, making the ‘gravely careless error’ of believing they were on a normal road whereas, in fact, they were driving the wrong way in the fast lane of the A1.
The court heard that both defendants were unfamiliar with the road layout and that some road signage was only partially visible, the grass was overgrown and the far side of the dual carriageway would have been hard to see at night.
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