Monday 16 January 2017

Woman hit man lying in road -- then went home to do chores

Published 15/06/2011 | 05:00

Eileen Hennessy at court yesterday
Eileen Hennessy at court yesterday
Anne Marie Collins (centre), widow of the late Niall Collins, leaving Killorglin District Court

A MOTHER of four hit a man lying on the road then drove home to carry out "various chores" without checking to see if he was all right, a court heard yesterday.

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Eileen Hennessy (36) was disqualified from driving for two years and fined €1,250 for failing to keep her vehicle at the scene of the accident for a reasonable period of time.

Niall Collins (51), from Milltown in Co Kerry, died in the incident at Tinahalla, Killorglin, on February 26 last year.

Yesterday, his heartbroken widow spoke of her grief at having to live a "life sentence" following the death of her husband in the hit-and-run accident.

Anne-Marie Collins was comforted by relatives following Ms Hennessy's conviction at a special sitting of Killorglin District Court yesterday.

"I lost my husband and she never once had the decency to say she was sorry," Mrs Collins told the Irish Independent.

Ms Hennessy, of An Bhainseach, Killorglin, expressed her sympathy to the family of Niall Collins through her solicitor.

The court heard that Mr Collins had played golf and went to the clubhouse, where he consumed alcohol.

Supt Michael O'Donovan said a number of witnesses had come forward to indicate that he had been "unsteady on his feet". He was lying on the road at the time the accident occurred at around 8.30pm. An inquest has not yet been held.

Supt O'Donovan said Ms Hennessy had veered to the left to avoid the body on the road but later admitted that she may have "clipped" him.

She stopped her Volkswagen Sharan and flashed her lights to warn oncoming motorists but did not get out of the car.

Appeal

Ms Hennessy contacted gardai to say there was a man on the road and rang them again the following morning when an appeal for information had been made on Radio Kerry.

"I saw a body stretched across the road. My son shouted, 'I've seen a dead body, the first dead body I've seen,'" she told gardai.

Ms Hennessy said she hadn't left the car because she was afraid her children would follow her and she didn't want them seeing the body.

She went home and later took her son to register with a local football club.

A witness who had come upon the scene said she heard Mr Collins "moaning" at the side of the road. Michelle Naughton said she observed a dark four-wheel drive or people-carrier pull in but then drive off after about four minutes.

Fibres found on Ms Hennessy's car matched a pink fleece that was worn by Mr Collins.

The defendant told the court that she had been in a state of shock.

The defence said his client was an upstanding citizen with no previous convictions.

He said the accident was not a "typical hit and run".

However, Judge Kelleher said he was satisfied that Ms Hennessy knew she had been involved in an accident but went home and did various other chores.

He said the accident might not have been her fault and had she remained there may not have been a court case at all.

"It was an error of judgment but a serious one. The law of the land is that we help our neighbour," he said.

Irish Independent

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