Thursday 22 February 2018

Driver gets eight years after horrific hit-and-run smash in which pensioner lost leg

Michael Sheehan: criminal
Michael Sheehan: criminal

Kathryn Hayes

A "full-time professional criminal" who was involved in an horrific hit and run incident in which an elderly pensioner lost his leg has been jailed for eight years.

Michael Sheehan (27), of Cliona Park, Moyross, Limerick, was granted bail - despite garda objections - just three days before he ploughed into three pensioners outside Parteen Pitch and Putt course in Co Clare on September 25, 2014.

Eric Ryan (80), a former inter-county hurler for Limerick, suffered catastrophic injuries after being pinned to the ground by Sheehan's car. He had to have his left leg amputated below the knee as a result of the ordeal.

His friend, retired garda Liam Barry (78), also suffered a number of horror injuries, including a brain haemorrhage and damage to his kidney and liver but has since made a full recovery.

Their friend, the late Dermot O'Brien, who was also in his 70s but is since deceased, suffered minor injuries.

Limerick Circuit Court heard how the three pensioners were very active and enjoyed a game of pitch and putt at least once a week before the hit and run incident.

Jailing Sheehan at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday, Judge Tom O'Donnell said he had to take into account the "deeply harrowing" victim-impact statement from Mr Ryan and the catastrophic injuries that he suffered.

Mr Ryan, who also suffered a crushed pelvis and right shoulder injury, described how he has gone from being an entirely independent man and a carer for his wife to a "completely dependent person who can barely manage the simple everyday things in life".

Sheehan, who has more than 50 previous convictions, admitted he drank eight bottles of cider and a naggin of vodka in the hours before he crashed into the pensioners.

He was being pursued by gardaí at the time over a series of house burglaries in nearby Clonlara and "jumped" over Mr Ryan's body as he fled the scene on foot after the pensioner had been pinned to the ground by his car.

Sheehan pleaded guilty to several offences, including dangerous driving causing serious injury.

Judge O'Donnell said Sheehan was "effectively a full-time professional criminal".

Irish Independent

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