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Dad afraid to pray by dying wife in case she panicked

A DRINK driver who mounted a footpath, killing a mother of twins and seriously injuring a man, has been given a three-year jail term.

Francis Lennon (37), of Marigold Grove, Darndale, Dublin 17, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Mrs Anne Fitzsimons at Malahide Road in Clontarf on November 15, 2009.

He also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious harm to Mr Tom McKiernan and drink driving on the same date and at the same place.

Judge Martin Nolan handed down a three-year sentence and suspended Lennon from driving for a period of five years.

The judge said the consequences had been dreadful -- a woman was dead and a man was seriously injured.

Judge Nolan said Mr Lennon will have no difficulties in future and seems to be capable of reform.

He said he was taking into account his early plea, his co-operation with gardai and his expression of remorse.

He said there was an important aggravating factor in that he was under the influence of alcohol, which meant he had to impose a custodial sentence.

"He shouldn't have driven the car in such a condition," said the judge.

Judge Nolan said he had great sympathy for Lennon in that he made this misjudgment but that he had no option but to impose a custodial sentence.

Mr McKiernan, who was present in court but did not read his victim impact statement, said it had had a catastrophic impact on his life -- he is left with a limp and is still attending rehabilitation for brain injuries.

He described himself as someone who had a successful career in computer programming with 140 clients but his business has ceased trading.

Mrs Fitzsimons's husband, who was with his wife at the time of the accident, read his victim impact statement to the court.

Mr Patrick Fitzsimons described his wife as "a very valuable member of society, a great wife and mother". "I went back to Anne and when I saw the blood loss from her head I knew she would not live," said Mr Fitzsimons.

"I was afraid to say the Act Of Contrition in her ear as I felt this would make her panic. This was my reasoning at the time. When I arrived at the hospital Anne was dead," he added.