Friday 18 August 2017

'Lethal' car had cost just €85 and a dozen oysters

Brian McDonald

A car bought for just €85 and a dozen oysters overturned and killed the teenage driver's 16-year-old best friend.

A court heard yesterday that the vehicle had virtually no brakes and the driver had drunk almost three pints of beer.

The car was described by Judge Raymond Groarke as "a lethal weapon".

The now 17-year-old driver appeared at Galway Circuit Criminal Court after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death at a location in the West in November of last year. Neither his name nor his deceased passenger can be published for legal reasons.

Garda Shane Prendergast said a large crowd had attended the funeral of Teresa Molloy, a student who had been killed in a crash in north Galway, along with three of her friends.

The 16-year-old passenger who lost his life in the subsequent accident had attended the Molloy funeral and later joined his friend, the accused, at a pub. Shortly before 10pm, the two teenage boys left the pub to travel to another pub in the car driven by the accused.

The driver later told gardai he was doing 50-55mph when he lost control of the car at a bend and it flipped over a ditch, landing on the roof in a field. He managed to pull his friend from the car but attempts to resuscitate him failed.

Garda Prendergast said the driver had bought the 1998-registered Citroen Xsara turbo diesel just five days previously for €85 and a dozen oysters from another man. It had 169,000 miles on the clock.

The seller had made it clear the brakes were in a very bad state of repair, but after a test drive the 16-year-old bought it.

Garda Prendergast said after it was examined by gardai, it was discovered that the brake system was virtually non-existent. The car was neither taxed, nor insured and only had an NCT to February 2008. It had not been used for some time.

Judge Raymond Groarke said it was a case of selling a lethal weapon to a 16-year-old child and then telling him it wasn't in good condition. He said of the accused: "He reflects a culture in this country of young men treating cars like toys."

In a victim-impact statement, the mother of the youth who died said: "He was too young to be robbed of his life".

The judge remanded the defendant on continuing bail until sentencing on March 25.

Irish Independent

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