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Thursday 26 April 2018

Son cleared over dad's death in tractor and trailer road crash

The aftermath of the collision between the lorry and tractor in Dungannon. Image: Belfast Telegraph
The aftermath of the collision between the lorry and tractor in Dungannon. Image: Belfast Telegraph

Staff Reporter

A Co Tyrone man has been cleared of causing his father's death in a horror crash, following a retrial.

Paul Alexander Brady (47), of Minterburn Road, Caledon, had denied the charge but accepted being a disqualified driver without insurance at the time of the collision in which his 69-year-old father Phelim was killed.

The case at Dungannon Crown Court began recently but could not be reported on for legal reasons until its conclusion.

After a jury cleared him of causing his father's death last week, Brady turned to relatives in the public gallery, some of whom broke down in tears with relief.

Phelim Brady had been standing on the draw-bar between a tractor and trailer driven by his son on June 25, 2014, when they were "slammed" from behind by a lorry whilst emerging from a junction onto the A4 dual carriageway, Dungannon. Mr Brady Snr landed on the road and died instantly.

The lorry was being driven by William Mark Murphy (53), from Castlewellan, who later stood trial for causing death by dangerous driving. However, he was convicted of a lesser charge of death by careless driving.

He was handed a four-month jail sentence, suspended for three years, and disqualified from driving for three years.

Paul Brady was also thrown from the tractor cabin during the collision and sustained serious injuries. He would be charged with causing his father's death by dangerous driving and would stand trial along with Mr Murphy.

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However, the jury was unable to reach a verdict in his case.

A retrial began last week in which Brady accepted driving whilst disqualified and without insurance, but denied any role in causing his father's death. He will be sentenced on the outstanding matters later.

Defence counsel Jim Gallagher QC explained that on the day in question, Brady was asked by his father to take him and five cattle to market, despite being subject to a driving disqualification.

His father had no-one to help him that day and Brady didn't want to let him down by refusing, the court heard. But, Mr Gallagher said, "a 35t lorry laden with cattle quite literally slammed into the back of the tractor and trailer".

He added: "The driving of the lorry was simply quite horrendous. It caused the death of Mr Brady Snr and the injuries to my client who was thrown from the tractor."

Concluding, Mr Gallagher said: "Responsibility for the collision and death, and the sole cause, was the atrocious driving of the lorry driver. The man in the dock was in no way, shape or form the cause of the collision."


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