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Dangerous driver is jailed and banned for life after smashing into elderly couple


The incident happened on the M50 in Dublin

The incident happened on the M50 in Dublin

The incident happened on the M50 in Dublin

A disqualified driver who drove down the wrong side of the M50 to escape gardaí before ploughing into the car of an elderly couple has been jailed for seven and a half years.

Brian Reilly (24) ruined the lives of John and Ellen Armstrong after he crashed into their car when they were stopped at a red light in Finglas last January, Judge Melanie Greally told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

Ellen Armstrong suffered significant injuries and had to have the tip of her thumb amputated, which has left her dependent on others, the court heard.

Reilly, a disqualified driver with 126 previous convictions, was trying to escape gardaí after he was stopped and asked for his driving licence.

He had been released from jail six weeks before the incident after serving a sentence for offences including endangerment, the court heard.

Reilly, of Tailteann Drive, Navan, Co Meath, pleaded guilty to two counts of endangerment, one count of dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm, one count of refusing to provide a blood or urine sample and one count of driving without insurance on January 29, 2020.

Judge Greally said Reilly "exposed four separate drivers to risk of death or serious harm" on the day in question.

"In the case of Ms Armstrong, he inflicted a life-long episode of pain and loss of independence and loss of the pursuits she enjoyed so much," she said.

She imposed a sentence of seven and a half years and suspended the final 18 months on a number of conditions, including that Reilly engage with drug addiction services.

She disqualified him from driving for life.

Garda Kieran Moloney previously told the court that a garda approached Reilly's car at a garage on the North Road in Finglas.

When asked for his licence, Reilly took off at speed, going the wrong way around a roundabout before driving the wrong way down the M50 and the N2.

The incident came to an end when Reilly crashed into a van at Kilshane Cross.

This collision sent his car crashing into the Armstrongs. Their car then crashed into a tree.


Reilly refused to provide a blood or urine sample to find out if he was under the influence of an intoxicant, the court heard.

Ms Armstrong suffered multiple rib fractures and other injuries in the crash, the court heard.

Her husband John Armstrong still suffers pain on a daily basis.

He suffered a head wound and had a seizure in the wake of the crash.

The defence said his client had "panicked" when he was pulled over by gardaí.

The court heard Reilly has spent much of his life in and out of prison.

Almost half of Reilly's convictions are for road traffic offences, including six for dangerous driving, nine for driving without a licence and eight for driving without insurance.

"He has directly caused adversity and harm to two individuals who were expecting a comfortable retirement," the defence said, adding Reilly was extremely remorseful.