Thursday 29 September 2016

Boy (16) sentenced for killing friend after crashing €400 car he bought with birthday money

Declan Conlon

Published 20/11/2015 | 17:04

The scene of the fatal crash. Inset: Dayne Cody
The scene of the fatal crash. Inset: Dayne Cody

A 16 year old who bought himself a car on donedeal.ie for €400 and crashed it later that day, killing his friend has been sentenced to 16 months detention.

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The boy, who was 15 at the time and cannot be named as he is a minor, was sentenced today at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The deceased, Dayne Cody, was also 15 years old. Three other teenage boys were in the back seat at the time, one of whom had to have 90pc of one foot amputated. The other boys had minor injuries.

The under-age driver lost control of the car when he saw a garda vehicle and sped up in panic. The car spun into a tree at high speed, killing Mr Cody instantly.

The boy pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death at Station Road, Clondalkin on December 20, 2014, as well as driving without a licence or insurance.

Judge Martin Nolan said despite the boy having a previously good record he deserved a period of detention for his own sake and the sake of society.

Dayne Cody suffered devastating injuries when the red Kia mounted a grass verge and collided with a tree. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Dayne Cody suffered devastating injuries when the red Kia mounted a grass verge and collided with a tree. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

He imposed four years detention and suspended all but 16 months of the term.

Mr Cody's aunt Deborah Cody read out an emotional victim impact statement written by his mother, Paula.

The horse-drawn hearse carries the remains of teenage road-crash victim Dayne Cody from his funeral Mass at St Matthew’s Church in Dublin
The horse-drawn hearse carries the remains of teenage road-crash victim Dayne Cody from his funeral Mass at St Matthew’s Church in Dublin

“My first born son which I held in my arms was taken so tragically. He was my world, he was my only son, he protected and looked after his four little sisters who he cared for and loved dearly,” she said.

Detective Garda Padraig Jennings told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that the boy accelerated when he saw a garda van pass by on the M50 bridge. The gardaí had not noticed the boys. A witness saw the car swerving violently before spinning 360 degrees and smashing into the tree.

The coffin is carried from St Matthews Church in Ballyfermot after the funeral of Dayne Cody. Picture credit Damien Eagers
The coffin is carried from St Matthews Church in Ballyfermot after the funeral of Dayne Cody. Picture credit Damien Eagers

Earlier that day the boy had travelled to Swords to see the 2002 Kia Magentis car advertised for sale on donedeal.ie. He used his birthday money to purchase the automatic transmission vehicle for €400.

The boy entered a fake name and address in the car's ownership log book. The car was later found to have NCT and tax documentation belonging to a different car.

The coffin is carried from St Matthews Church after the funeral of Dayne Cody. Picture credit Damien Eagers
The coffin is carried from St Matthews Church after the funeral of Dayne Cody. Picture credit Damien Eagers

He drove it home to Ballyfermot and met his friends including the deceased. Together they went to buy a new car battery and then they went out in the car to get petrol. The incident happened shortly before 10pm.

The boy, who has no previous convictions, was also brought to hospital for treatment. He tested negative for alcohol or drugs.

The coffin is carried from St Matthews Church after the funeral of Dayne Cody. Picture credit Damien Eagers 2412/2014
The coffin is carried from St Matthews Church after the funeral of Dayne Cody. Picture credit Damien Eagers 2412/2014

A garda forensic report concluded the car would have been travelling far in excess of the 50 kph speed limit on that road. It said the car was in good condition apart from one bald tyre.

Det Gda Jennings agreed with Michael Bowman BL, defending, that a driver inexperienced in the operation of automatic car could have accidentally pushed on the wrong pedal in an emergency, potentially contributing to a loss of control.

Det Gda Jennings told Mr Bowman that the boy had fully cooperated with the gardaí from the time of the accident and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

He also agreed that the boy was deeply remorseful for his actions.

“It was one of his good friends who died in that accident,” said Det Gda Jennings.

Calling it a tragic case, Judge Nolan said the court was “not at large” in sentencing the boy as the Children Act of 2001 stipulates imprisonment of minors should only be used if there is no alternative.

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