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Binman cleared after boy's death in lorry horror

A BIN lorry driver who accidentally killed a three-year-old boy after reversing his vehicle over him has been found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Alex McDaid (60), of Bomany, Letterkenny, had denied causing the death of Patrick McDonagh by dangerous driving in the Ballymacool housing estate in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, in February 2010. He had admitted a separate charge of driving without a valid driver's licence.


The boy died when he chased after a tennis ball from the driveway of his home and ran on to the road.

He had been playing with his twin sister Megan and their father Patrick had witnessed the incident.

McDaid, a father of five who has been a driver with Ferry's Refuse for 12 years, had reversed his vehicle into the cul-de-sac where Patrick died. It was travelling at just 5kph.

The prosecution alleged that he had not driven safely and could have done so had an assistant at the back of the lorry directed him properly.

However defence lawyers argued that the incident was a tragic accident.

After deliberating for an hour at Letterkenny Circuit Court today, the jury returned a 'Not Guilty' verdict.

McDaid was fined €100 for failing to have an up-to-date driving licence.

His barrister said that McDaid has not driven any vehicle since the accident. He quit his job because the accident had had such a profound effect on him.

McDaid "lives with this every day of his life", he said

Earlier this week, the boy's father, Patrick, told the court that Patrick jnr and Megan had been playing with a ball.

The family's pet dog had taken the ball. Mr McDonagh retrieved it and gave it back to Patrick.

The ball rolled down a hill as Mr McDonagh roared at his son to stop. "I ran down after him and I was roaring for the driver to stop," he said.

"He was bending down to pick up the ball and he was hit by the step at the back of the lorry and the lorry went over him.

"It happened in seconds but it felt like minutes," he said.