A MAN whose wife was killed in a road accident just days after their marriage said he had lost his best friend and any joy in his life.
Sean Kennedy was speaking as a 36-year-old woman avoided a jail term after she admitted dangerous driving causing the death of Emily Maguire Kennedy (27) on September 12, 2011, on the Termonfeckin road, Drogheda.
"She would have made the most wonderful mother and grandmother," he said of his wife. "She was taken from me as our life together was getting started."
Emily and her US navy husband had been living in America but were on holiday at her home town of Termonfeckin, Co Louth.
They had a marriage ceremony in Termonfeckin church a few days earlier and the couple was due to return to the US the day after the collision.
The court heard yesterday that the defendant – Elizabeth Lawal, Heron Street, Aston Village, Drogheda – was not familiar with the four-road crossroad at Beauleau Cross, on the main Termonfeckin to Drogheda road, and had driven straight through a stop sign.
It was shortly after 10.15am and the deceased was a back-seat passenger in a Kia Sportage being driven by her brother Paul while their mum Marie was in the passenger seat.
Mr Maguire told gardai he was almost on the junction when he saw the car driven by Lawal coming out to the right of him. The Maguires were on the main road and the accused had come out from a minor road. The defendant's Nissan Almera car "drove through the crossroads" and hit the rear side of the Kia on the driver's side, Dundalk Circuit Court heard.
The Kia was put into a spin, crossed the road and rolled 180 degrees until it was facing back the way it came, Judge Michael O'Shea was told.
Emily died shortly after arrival at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
Gda Sgt Peter O'Hare said there were signs on the minor road as well as writing on the road warning of the approaching junction.
The accused had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and told gardai that diversions had sent her on to the road she was not familiar with.
She has not worked since and is on medication for depression and has symptoms of post-traumatic stress. She was fully insured and was not speeding or under the influence of drink or drugs.
In a victim-impact statement Sean Kennedy described how Emily's death had left his life "empty of joy". "What I think about most is how I never got to say goodbye and 'I love you' one last time," he said.
In a joint victim-impact statement, her parents John and Marie and her four brothers John Marcus, Anthony, Terence and Paul said they had to carry Emily's loss "to every family event". "We struggle to overcome the loss of her daily."
Judge O'Shea said "catastrophic is an under-statement".
"It is impossible for me to calculate or estimate the loss of Emily to her husband, parents and family," he said.
He imposed a two-year sentence on Lawal but suspended it on her entering into a good behaviour bond for three years. He disqualified her for four years.