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Laughing hit-and-run driver left neighbour with brain damage

A Dublin man who knocked down his neighbour leaving him brain damaged and in a coma, was due to be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court later today.

Gavin Guerrine (20), of La Touche Road in Bluebell, pleaded guilty in November last to recklessly or intentionally causing serious harm to Christopher O'Rourke in April, 2009.

Mr O'Rourke (23) was walking on Huband Road in Bluebell with his girlfriend on the afternoon of April 19, when she saw a red car driving towards them at speed.


She told gardai that Guerrine, who was 17 at the time, was driving the car. He mounted the kerb and drove into Mr O'Rourke, who was sent flying through the air.

He drove past the scene again, where a crowd had gathered around Mr O'Rourke, and gardai noticed them screaming and shouting at Guerrine.

One witness told gardai that Guerrine had laughed as he passed by in the car. He was arrested later that day.

Mr O'Rourke was rushed to hospital where he remained in a coma with a severe brain injury for a number of weeks.

He was in intensive care for four months, with sustained facial fractures, rib fractures and a serious injury to his knee.

When he regained consciousness, he spent weeks in rehabilitation where he found it difficult to walk and had problems swallowing and talking.

He left Dublin and went to live with his mother in Newry, but became depressed and began abusing drugs.

Mr O'Rourke made two attempts to take his own life in 2010, and died one month after his 25th birthday in August last, from a drugs overdose.

Guerrine, who appeared in the Central Criminal Court yesterday for his sentence hearing, denied in garda interviews that he had sent a text to a friend that day saying "I wrecked my car, but f*** it, it's for my brother Darren."

The court heard that Darren had been killed a year prior.