Wednesday 21 March 2018

Driver jailed for leaving teacher dying on road

Barry Duggan

A BUSINESSMAN who drank eight pints of Guinness and fled the scene of a road accident where he killed a retired schoolteacher was jailed for three years yesterday.

Limerick Circuit Criminal Court was stunned into silence as it heard how Jason Gormley (39) walked away from Aidan Lawless's car, leaving the 52-year-old to die alongside his trapped and injured wife on the N24 route at Ahabeg, Ballysimon, Co Limerick, on October 4, 2009.

Gormley, originally from Ennis but with an address at Rathlin, Castleconnell, Co Limerick, had drunk eight pints over five hours in O'Neill's pub in Boher, Co Limerick, before the fatal collision.

He was not arrested until the following day as he fled through two counties attempting to avoid capture.

Aidan Lawless and his wife, Cathleen, from Clonmel had travelled from their home in south Tipperary to bring their daughter Rachel to Limerick Institute of Technology where she was studying.

They were making the return journey home when the collision occurred less than two miles from Limerick city at 8.15pm.

Gormley agreed to drop Brian Quinn into Limerick after spending the evening drinking with him and others in the east Limerick pub.

On a straight stretch of the N24 route, Gormley veered on to the wrong side of the road and crashed head-on into the victim's Ford Mondeo.

A motorist who arrived at the scene attempted to give assistance after Gormley asked to be helped out of his SUV.

After emerging from the vehicle, the witness told gardai that Gormley walked towards the other vehicle like he was drunk.

However, Gormley then walked away in the opposite direction. As he attempted to stop the drunk driver, Gormley told the motorist to "f**k off" twice.

He stopped another motorist along the route and paid him €50 to take him to his home in Castleconnell, Co Limerick.

He later fled the area and was found near Ardnacrusha power station in Co Clare the following morning, bare-chested and with no shoes or socks.

Gormley pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of the retired school teacher. Judge Carroll Moran sentenced him to three years' imprisonment and disqualified Gormley from driving for three years.

Irish Independent

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