Friday 20 October 2017

Heartbroken son's evidence prompts review of death caseThe late Margaret Goulding and her son Tom Goulding.

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A JUDGE has sent a careless-driving case back to the DPP to consider if it should be heard in a higher court with stiffer penalties after he heard of the "devastating effects" from the victim's family.

After returning the case for review under new road-traffic legislation, Judge Desmond Zaidan sent out a warning that "cutting corners" was a common and "dangerous practice" among drivers on Irish roads.

John Allen (55), with an address at Upper Town, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow, appeared before the judge at Naas District Court yesterday on a careless-driving charge under the road traffic acts.

At 7am on August 8, 2011, Margaret (Peg) Goulding (78) was struck by Mr Allen's BMW as she crossed a Naas street. She died in Naas General Hospital two days later.

Her son, Tom Goulding, struggled to compose himself as he told the court his son Viktor (7) had a nice "final image" of his grandmother after playing with her for hours the day before she was knocked down. However, the rest of the family had a very different image after seeing her in the hospital.

"Mr Allen would crash into our lives in a way we never imagined possible," he said, adding that the entire family, including his sisters Pauline and Geraldine, were devastated.

He said his mother had extensive brain damage, a broken leg, and her head was "so massively swollen I didn't recognise my mum".

The judge said he had "concerns" and sent the case back to the DPP to review if he should decide on the case in the District Court or if it should be sent to the Circuit Court after new 2011 road traffic legislation amended the act dating back to 1961.

Earlier, Garda Sergeant George Doherty said Mr Allen remained at the scene, co-operated fully with gardai and there were no witnesses or CCTV to the incident.

'Devastated'

The court heard Mr Allen, who was turning from Fairgreen Street on to Loch Bui in Naas town centre, had spotted Mrs Goulding crossing the street and had stopped.

Mr Allen told gardai Mrs Goulding had waved him across the junction. However, he also waved at her. He then proceeded through the junction and the collision occurred. Sgt Doherty said the driver had indicated the point at which he had "cut through the junction" and went slightly on to the incorrect side of the road.

Mrs Goulding was clipped by the mirror, spun on to the ground, and struck her head.

The court heard there was no evidence of speed and he was not over the legal drink-drive limit at the time.

Solicitor Peter Doyle said Mr Allen, an unemployed family man, with references to his reliable character, pleaded guilty to the charge, co-operated fully with gardai and was "devastated" about what had occurred.

The case was adjourned until next Thursday for the DPP to consider the matter.

Irish Independent

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