Friday 24 January 2020

Trial date set for student charged with dangerous driving causing death of mum and daughter

Geraldine and Louise Ann Clancy and Susan Gleeson (right)
Geraldine and Louise Ann Clancy and Susan Gleeson (right)

Ralph Riegel

A student charged with dangerous driving causing the death of a mother and daughter last Christmas will go on trial next month.

Susan Gleeson (21) was remanded for trial before Cork Circuit Criminal Court with a hearing date not to be scheduled before November 15.

Susan Gleeson: trial. Pic from Cork Courts
Susan Gleeson: trial. Pic from Cork Courts

She did not speak during the brief hearing before Judge Sean O'Donnabhain.

Judge O'Donnabhain made orders for all witness statements and case documents to be disclosed.

Ms Gleeson was remanded last July for trial before the autumn sitting of Cork Circuit Criminal Court by Judge Brian Sheridan in Fermoy District Court.

Ms Gleeson of Kilworth, Co Cork faces a single charge of dangerous driving causing the death of Cork mother, Geraldine Clancy (58), and her daughter, Louise Ann (22), on December 22 last.

Judge Sheridan had granted free legal aid for Ms Gleeson on the application of defence solicitor John Brooks and allowed two counsels.

He also allowed an engineering report given that the matter involved a road traffic issue.

Geraldine and Louise Calncy
Geraldine and Louise Calncy

The young woman, who is a university student, was remanded on continuing bail in her own bond of €500.

A Cork Coroner’s inquest last April heard that the mother and daughter both drowned after their car ploughed into a flooded ditch following a collision with another vehicle.

The accident occurred near Ballyderown on the Fermoy-Kilworth-Ballyduff Road.

Coroner Dr Michael Kennedy agreed to adjourn the inquest under Section 25 (1) of the Coroners Act, 1962 after Gardaí said the proceedings were ongoing.

Cork farmer Noel Clancy, who lost his wife and daughter in the tragedy, was one of the first people to attend the accident scene shortly after 11am on December 22.

The accident occurred less than 1km from the Clancy family farm with the mother and daughter the only occupants of the family's Ford car.

Tragically, despite emergency services racing to the scene, both Geraldine and Louise Ann Clancy were pronounced dead before they could be rushed to hospital.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster conducted post mortem examinations on both at Cork University Hospital (CUH) on December 23.

Dr Bolster confirmed to the inquest that both mother and daughter died from acute cardio-respiratory failure due to drowning.

Heavy rainfall and flooding of the River Blackwater had left the dyke beside the Kilworth-Fermoy road full of water to a depth of almost 120cm (4ft) last winter.

Local fields were also heavily flooded.

Louise Ann, who had autism, had successfully defied her condition to study first at Loreto secondary school in Fermoy and then at University College Cork (UCC).

She had only arrived home days before the tragedy from her Erasmus Scholarship placement at the University of Sussex in the UK to spend Christmas with her family.

Louise Ann was a prolific writer and published numerous blogs on living and working with autism.

Special tributes were paid to Louise Ann earlier this year to mark World Autism Awareness Day.

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