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Saturday 20 September 2014

Grieving family tells drug addict who knocked down and killed mum-of-four out shopping to 'never get behind a wheel again'

* Midwife Frances McCarthy (56) had been out shopping with her sister on day of tragedy
* She was walking on pavement when she was struck by car driven by Philip Trimble
* Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Trimble was a drug addict at the time
* The court was told Trimble was driving at more than 50mph in Dublin's city centre at the time
* His car traversed road, mounted footpath and hit a signpost
* He ran over Mrs McCarthy
* Her sister Mary O'Connor and a third pedestrian were lifted onto bonnet, and carried some distance before being thrown to grount
* Trimble apologised to family of Mrs McCarthy
* He told court he wished he had died and not the midwife and mum-of-four
* Her husband, Denis McCarthy, said life as he had known it came to sudden end on day she was killed
* The couple had been married for 27 years and had four children, including well known Dublin hurler Sean McCarthy

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Jessica Magee

Published 09/04/2014 | 18:53

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The family of a woman who was knocked down and killed while out shopping with her sister has asked the driver not to get behind the wheel again.

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The driver Philip Trimble (35) later told gardaí he wished it was he who had died and not the victim. The father-of-four took to the stand to express his remorse to the family.

Trimble, of Oscar Traynor Road, Santry, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Mrs Frances McCarthy (56) on Middle Abbey Street on January 11 last year.

The court heard Trimble had been driving at over 50mph when his blue Hyundai traversed the road, mounted a footpath and hit a roadside signpost near Marks and Spencers.

Mrs McCarthy was run over by the car and despite several attempts by paramedics to resuscitate her, she was pronounced dead at the Mater Hospital a short time later.

Her sister Mary O'Connor and a third pedestrian Brian Sexton were lifted onto the bonnet, carried some yards and thrown to the ground in the same collision.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring adjourned the case until May 26 to decide on an appropriate sentence.

Ms McCarthy was married to Dennis McCarthy for 27 years - the couple had four children together including well known Dublin hurler Sean McCarthy.

She said there was “no doubt in her mind” that neither Frances McCarthy nor the other pedestrians were in any way at fault.

In a moving victim impact report read out on behalf of the victim's husband, Denis McCarthy said his life as he had known it came to a sudden end when his wife of 27 years was killed by a car.

He said he brought his wife a cup of tea before leaving for work, and that when they spoke on the phone mid-morning the last thing she said was to ask him what he would like for dinner.

Her final text to him had been “What would I do without you?”

Mr McCarthy said his life without his wife, best friend and soul mate was “truly awful” and that he missed her constantly.

He spoke of the devastation and crushing loss felt by himself, his four children and by his wife's family, singling out her elderly mother.

“When I brought her mother to see her youngest child laid out, it was the hardest blow of all,” he said.

Mr McCarthy said Frances was an “amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister-in-law and highly dedicated midwife” adding that her many patients and colleagues were also traumatised by her loss.

Mr McCarthy said his wife was 100 per cent innocent and had simply been walking along the footpath.

“Anyone here today could easily have been walking on Abbey Street, but it was my wife who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“She was only one of a kind, and the world is a poorer place without her,” he concluded.

Mr McCarthy said his family was grateful that Trimble had pleaded guilty and accepted full responsibility, but asked him to agree not to drive again so as to spare the suffering of any other family.

Mr McCarthy said that when he married his wife in Co Cork in 1985, the local priest said the man that was marrying Frances Crowley was “one lucky man”.

“I was that lucky man until our luck ran out,” he said.

Judge Ring said she accepted that Trimble had shown remorse.

She also said the weather had not been an issue in the collision and the road markings could not have been clearer.

“He travelled quite a distance down a road, clearly in the wrong direction, went onto the pavement in a diagonal projection knocking over a sign, and was driving at 50 mph in a 30 mph zone,” she said.

The court heard that Trimble became addicted to heroin at the age of 15 and is now on methadone maintenance.

His counsel described him as “a man in the throes of deep remorse” who was prepared to take any consequences for his actions if it would relieve the distress of the family.

Sergeant Eric Kelly told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that the deceased woman and her sister Mary had left Arnotts with their shopping bags and were walking along Middle Abbey Street towards Jervis Street car park when the collision occurred.

Mrs O'Connor was thrown to her hands and knees by a sudden impact on her right side, and when she got back onto her feet she saw her sister on the ground and a blue car with a damaged wing mirror nearby.

Witness Brian Sexton told gardai he was crossing the street when he saw people gasping as they stood at the Luas Jervis stop outbound. He then saw a light blue hatchback car coming towards him.

He jumped into the air but the car caught him and carried him ten feet until it crashed into a wall with a woman underneath.

Trimble was arrested at the scene and initially told gardaí a car had come straight across in front of him and he had swerved to avoid it.

When shown CCTV footage, he accepted that there was no other car and said “God forgive me, I was out of control altogether. It looks like I was in a world of my own.”

“From looking at that, it's all my fault, I deserve whatever,” he said.

He apologised to Mrs McCarthy's family and said, “Whatever I say won't bring that woman back, I'd be better off topping myself.”

Trimble has 12 previous convictions including drugs offences and burglary.

He took the stand and told Bernard Condon SC, defending, that he felt like he had destroyed a family's life.

He read out a short statement to Frances' husband, children and friends apologising and said it was his fault.

“I am not so good with words but when I say I am sorry I mean it is from the heart,” he said.

In a victim impact statement read out on behalf of Mr McCarthy, he said he got a call from his sister-in-law to say that Frances had been knocked down, but that he arrived just as the ambulance door was closing and by the time he was allowed to see his wife she was already dead.

A victim impact statement was also read on behalf of Frances' sister, describing her “generosity of spirit, kind and loving personality, and positive outlook.”

“She lit up every room she walked into and every life she touched,” the statement read.

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