Beauty therapist who 'catapulted' cyclist into air avoids jail
A BEAUTY therapist who "catapulted" a cyclist into the air leaving him with catastrophic injuries has avoided a jail sentence.
Sinead King (29), a mother of two, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious harm on Monastery Road, Clondalkin, Dublin, on October 16, 2010.
She was given a 12-month suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
King (29), of Riverside, Clondalkin, didn't de-mist her car windows that morning before setting out on her drive to work. She accepted she couldn't see out properly and later told gardai she had no idea she had knocked someone over.
She said she noticed four children playing on one side of the road and then heard a loud bang. She noticed her windscreen was broken and assumed her former partner, who she had difficulties with in the past, had attacked her car.
King drove on, leaving Peter Vaughan, a retired English man visiting his son in Clondalkin, on the side of the road with his leg broken in three places, a broken eye socket and mild brain damage.
Mr Vaughan told gardai he had taken his son's bicycle to the local shops and "was catapulted" into the air. He had seen no cars around and thought at first it was a gas explosion.
King had one previous conviction for failing to give a breath sample and was banned from driving for four years in December 2010.
Garda Ruth Brett told Pieter Le Vert, prosecuting, that a passer-by came to Mr Vaughan's assistance and called an ambulance. The same man also recovered debris from the road, which included a wing mirror and broken bits of plastic.
She said King arrived at the garda station four hours after the accident to report the damage done to her car.
When the garda examined the vehicle she realised it was the one that had been involved in the accident and cautioned King. Paul Comiskey O'Keefe, defending, said his client had "made a simple error" but one with serious consequences.
He submitted that King had displayed genuine remorse and concern for Mr Vaughan. Judge Patrick McCartan told King she had made a dreadful mistake because she didn't have the patience to properly defog her car windows.
"She did a very foolish thing to get up and drive to work in an urban area when she could not see out," before he added that she compounded her wrongdoing by driving away.
He accepted her remorse was genuine and said he didn't believe anything would be achieved by sending her to prison. The judge then handed down an 12-month suspended sentence and banned King from driving for 10 years.