Monday 26 September 2016

Former grave digger caught driving without insurance caught on way to gun victim's funeral

Eimear Cotter

Published 11/02/2016 | 15:50

Swords District Court
Swords District Court

A former grave digger caught driving without insurance was heading to the funeral of gun victim Benny Whitehouse.

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Craig Browne (25) wanted to pay his respects to Mr Whitehouse because he had been "living off his charity".

Benny Whitehouse who was shot dead in Balbriggan
Benny Whitehouse who was shot dead in Balbriggan

Benny Whitehouse was gunned down in Balbriggan on September 25, 2014 after he dropped his young daughter to school.

Judge Dermot Dempsey sentenced Browne to four months in prison and banned him from driving for four years.

The defendant, with an address at St Brigid's Terrace, Oldcastle, Co Meath, admitted before Swords District Court to driving without insurance or a driving licence.

The incident took place at Ring Commons, near Balbriggan, on October 1, 2014.

Sergeant Bob Kavanagh said Browne was stopped driving a UK-registered silver Volkswagen Golf.

Sgt Kavanagh said the defendant was asked to produce his insurance and driving licence but he failed to produce them.

The court heard that Browne has 11 previous convictions, and was disqualified from driving at the time of the incident.

Defence lawyer Ronan O'Carroll said Browne was working as a grave digger in Coolock at the time of this offence.

Mr O'Carroll said Browne was effectively homeless and was "living off the charity of Mr Whitehouse", who had "helped him with lodgings".

He said the defendant was driving to attend Mr Whitehouse's funeral when he was stopped by gardai.

Mr O'Carroll said Browne is now working as a bin man and living in Oldcastle to be near his two young children.

The barrister asked Judge Dempsey not to send Browne to jail, and give him one last chance.

Imposing a four-month sentence, Judge Dempsey said this was Browne's third no insurance conviction.

Browne immediately appealed the conviction.

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