Tuesday 21 August 2018

'How is someone's life worth so little' - Family of hit-and-run victim outraged by driver's 'lenient' sentence

Fred Reid with a photo of Karl Robertson his Nephew who was killed in a hit and run. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Fred Reid with a photo of Karl Robertson his Nephew who was killed in a hit and run. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Amy Molloy and Sarah-Jane Murphy

The heartbroken family of a young man killed in a hit and run believe "justice hasn't been done" after the driver responsible was handed down a five-year sentence.

Karl Robertson (28) had been out jogging just yards from his family home in Artane, north Dublin when he was struck by a van and propelled nearly 20 metres along the road.

The driver of the van, Patrick Morgan (28), of no fixed abode, later set fire to the vehicle a short distance away.

Mr Robertson died the following day from extensive head injuries.

Karl Robertson died after being struck by a car Photo: Frank McGrath
Karl Robertson died after being struck by a car Photo: Frank McGrath

Karl's mother, Cathy Reid, says she still can't bring herself to talk about the day her only son died.

Ms Reid said her family has been "given a life sentence" while Patrick Morgan will be back on the streets in a matter of years.

"We waited in that court from 10.30am and the case wasn't called until 4pm. It wasn't justice in our eyes," she told Independent.ie.

Karl's godfather, Fred Reid, spoke about the family's pain on behalf of his younger sister Cathy.

"My sister spent the whole time in court crying. She wanted to be there for Karl but it has been so difficult. We have all been so upset since that day. Karl never gave anybody an ounce of trouble in his life.

"He was a great godchild, he was always a great help to me. He was a quiet lad, very shy, but technically very bright. I could always rely on him to tune my TV."

Morgan pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Mr Robertson, failing to stop at the scene, failing to offer assistance, and leaving the scene at Hazelwood Drive, Artane on March 8, 2017.

He came forward to gardai the following day and was arrested.

In what was described by the judge as “a tragic twist of fate”, the van driver, Patrick Morgan (28), later realised he knew the deceased, Karl Robertson, when he saw the death reported online.

"For us, the sentence is far too lenient. We will spend the rest of our days wondering what could have been," Mr Reid said.

Morgan has 47 previous convictions and was the subject of three separate driving disqualifications at the time of this incident.

"He was well-known to gardai and how he was allowed be on the roads is a complete mystery to me.

"Karl never bothered anybody in his own life. He just worked happily away in the Northside Shopping Centre. On the day of his funeral, the church was packed out the door. He is missed greatly by all of us.

"We are disappointed about the outcome and how long it took to get to court. How can someone's life be worth so little."

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