Friday 19 October 2018

Man jailed for drinking 15 pints and taking drugs before knocking down and killing French national

Martin Linehan (36) and formerly of Lagan Grove in Mayfield, Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday (Friday) to eight charges arising out of a hit and run in which 25 year old Gabriel Lege, was killed while crossing the street at George’s Quay in Cork city in October 2013. Photo: Provision
Martin Linehan (36) and formerly of Lagan Grove in Mayfield, Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday (Friday) to eight charges arising out of a hit and run in which 25 year old Gabriel Lege, was killed while crossing the street at George’s Quay in Cork city in October 2013. Photo: Provision

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 incident was jailed for eight years today.

Martin Linehan (36) and formerly of Lagan Grove in Mayfield, Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday to eight charges arising out of a hit and run in which 25 year old Gabriel Lege, was killed while crossing the street at George’s Quay in Cork city in October 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. The last time I kissed and touched him was on September 24, 2013.

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

"Part of me was gone with him, part of me died that time. My little child is gone. He wanted three children and I will never see my grandchildren. He was 25 years old when he died and he came into this world two and a half months early. Everybody was worried about him being premature but he was a fighter".

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mr Linehan had to be extradited from the UK to face the charges. On the day of the accident he was driving without insurance because he had previously been disqualified from driving.

Mr Lege, from Olonne-sur-Mer in the Vendée in western France, was working in Apple in Cork at the time of his death. He lost his life his life after he was struck by a white Ford Transit van which did not stop on Georges Quay in Cork at 9.30pm on October 31st, 2013. Paramedics attempted to revive him but he died at Cork University Hospital a short time later.

His inquest was previously told that Mr Lege died from shock and haemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen, and brain injury, due to a road traffic accident.

Mr 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 Judge Sean O'Donnabhain that Mr Linehan had lost his job as a courier shortly before the accident. Det Garda Flynn said Mr Linehan drank 15-16 pints as well as cannabis and cocaine before he crashed in to the French national as he was crossing George's Quay on a green light on a pedestrian crossing.

Passersby told gardai that Mr Linehan actually 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 Stranraer. The court heard that Mr Linehan was located two years later in the in UK after he he was arrested for an assault on his new partner. He then fled the UK and went to South Africa. He later returned to UK where he was arrested in May of this year following an anonymous call to gardai.

Det Flynn said Mr Linehan had no remorse. She stated that he had over twenty previous convictions for driving and drugs offences including an eight year sentence  for importing cannabis in a van valued at one million euro.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain said despite the mitigating factors including his plea, he was going to impose the maximum sentence of eight years without suspending any of the term. He told the court that Mr Linehan hadn't shown a "scintilla of remorse." He jailed him from eight years and disqualified him from driving for forty years.

"His behaviour then and after was the behaviour of a person who only had one consideration - himself. He showed no remorse and was only concerned about self preservation. The way he left the scene is chilling and frightening in that he showed so much disregard for another human being. He broke red lights, drove  aggressively and collided with a pedestrian whom he must have seen. After hitting him he did not stop. He did not give the deceased a chance and kept going with the front and the back wheels of the vehicle rolling over him."

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