Sunday 26 January 2020

Woman 'high on stupid pills' as she mowed down taxi driver

Claire Nolan outside
the court yesterday
Claire Nolan outside the court yesterday
Michael Duffy's daughter-inlaw Moira Duffy (in pink jacket) leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday alongside Michael Duffy Jnr (far right) and other family members
The dead man, Michael Duffy

Edel Kennedy and Paul Hyland

A YOUNG woman was high on a cocktail of drink, cocaine and "stupid pills" when she drove her car in temper at a taxi man, severing his spine and crushing him to death.

Claire Nolan (25) -- who has 15 previous convictions -- drove her car into father-of-four Michael Duffy (66) and crushed him on January 26, 2008, after she became involved in a row with Mr Duffy's son, Francis.

She said she went mental because she thought Francis Duffy, who suffers from a mild intellectual difficulty, was getting into her Nissan Micra car.

In the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday, Mr Duffy's family said one of their biggest regrets was that he never got to meet his first grandchild.

In an emotional victim impact statement, the dead man's daughter-in-law told the court that his first grandchild was born just 10 days after he was pinned up against a wall and his spine broken.

She told the court he was killed simply because he went to help his son.


Moira Duffy described her father-in-law as a quiet and hardworking man who had old-fashioned values.

Nolan (25), of Sheephill Green, Blanchardstown, was tried for murder twice but the jury failed to reach a verdict each time. The State accepted the manslaughter plea last December.

Mr Justice Paul Carney yesterday remanded her in prison for sentencing next Monday.

At the time of his death, Mr Duffy had been working part-time as a taxi driver and was saving for a dream holiday to Graceland, as he was a huge fan of Elvis.

Moira Duffy said he had seen much unemployment during the 1970s and 1980s -- but had worked hard to provide for his family and care for his sick wife, Christina. She died just one year and 16 days before he was killed.

"He paid the ultimate price that no one should have to pay for protecting their child," Ms Duffy told the court.

He was a huge Dublin supporter and his only daughter, Caroline, wore his jersey to the All-Ireland last September when Dublin lifted the Sam Maguire.

"When they won, the sorrow was indescribable," she said, adding that he should have been there to celebrate the win with them.

"His son and daughter-in-law had waited so long for a child after suffering many miscarriages," Ms Duffy said.

"A second grandchild has been born since and they have been robbed of wonderful, happy times."

She said all their lives had been affected, both emotionally and financially.

"No words can describe our broken hearts," she added.

Detective Sergeant Michael Kennedy of Blanchardstown garda station said she had 15 previous convictions for drugs and road traffic offences, as well as assaulting two gardai.

She has already been given a three-year suspended sentence for possession of cocaine for sale and supply on January 25, 2008, the day before she killed Mr Duffy.

Brendan Grehan, defending, said Nolan had admitted she was "off her head on drink and coke and stupid pills" on the night and the act had been unplanned.

She has since gone into drug rehab, had a daughter who is now 15 months old, and is trying to turn her life around.

He said she wished to apologise for her actions when she was 21, a time when she was "caught in a world (of addiction) she couldn't get out of".

Irish Independent

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