Thursday 19 September 2019

Hit-and-run death driver took cocaine and drank 15 pints

Martin Linehan outside court
Martin Linehan outside court

Olivia Kelleher

A man who drank 15 pints and took cocaine and cannabis before knocking down and killing a young French national in a hit-and-run has been jailed for eight years.

Martin Linehan (36), formerly of Lagan Grove in Mayfield, Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday to eight charges arising from the incident in which Apple worker Gabriel Lege (25) was killed while crossing the street at George's Quay in Cork city on October 31, 2013.

Mr Lege's heartbroken mother Sylvie said her grief had placed an enormous burden on her over the last few years.

"What can I tell you of my disarray, my pain, my unsustainable grief since Gabriel's death - what do I tell you of these nights for the last four years, nights without sleep, crying, screaming 'Gabriel, I want to see you, I want to see you' - part of me is him and I am not, nor will ever be, the same."

She added that she would never forget seeing her son's cold, lifeless body. "He was so alone. I kissed him and he was cold," she said.

"Then we had to take him home and collect his body from a storage warehouse at the airport. We had to travel 500km with his body in a coffin.

"Part of me was gone with him, part of me died that time. My little child is gone."


The court heard on the day of the incident Linehan was driving without insurance because he had been disqualified from driving.

Mr Lege, from Olonne-sur-Mer in the Vendée in western France, was working at Apple in Cork at the time of his death.

He lost his life after he was struck by a white Ford Transit van which did not stop. Paramedics attempted to revive him but he died at Cork University Hospital a short time later.

Linehan pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Mr Lege in addition to seven other motor charges including dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

Det Garda Ann Flynn told the court Linehan drank 15 to 16 pints and took cannabis and cocaine before he crashed into Mr Lege. Passers-by told gardaí that Linehan increased his speed as he drove up the quay.

He fled the scene after he knocked Mr Lege down.

The day after he drove to Larne and took a ferry to Scotland. He was arrested in the UK in May of this year following an anonymous call to gardaí.

Det Flynn said Mr Linehan had no remorse.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain said despite the mitigating factors including his plea, he was going to impose the maximum sentence of eight years.

Irish Independent

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