Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Co Down man gets five years for manslaughter

A Co Down man has been jailed for five years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for the manslaughter of a man following a row over alleged remarks to his sister.

27-year-old Conor O'Reilly of Kildarragh Close, Warrenpoint Road, Newry pleaded guilty to killing Brendan Leggett in Dundalk in September 2005.

The court heard that O'Reilly got into his car - despite attempts to hold him down - and the victim stood in front to block his exit but was dragged underneath and seriously injured. He died in hospital four days later.

O'Reilly also admitted assaulting a student Garda Colm Murray causing him harm on the same occasion.

Mr Derek Kenneally SC read out a letter of remorse by Mr O'Reilly saying he would never forget the effect of his actions.

"It is a night I will never forget and it will haunt me for the rest of my life. All the grief and pain that I have caused does not compare to the grief felt by Brendan's family," he said.

Mr Kenneally also said that the victim impact statement made by Mr Leggett's mother had a huge effect on O'Reilly and made him realize the terrible consequences of what happened.

"He accepts that by pulling away with Mr Leggett in such close proximity was grossly negligent. There was never any intention or desire to cause harm to the victim."

Judge White said O'Reilly was guilty "of recklessness to a very high degree". He didn't remain at the scene and it must have been clear to him that he had driven over some obstruction.

The judge accepted that O'Reilly was genuinely remorseful but said the court had to weigh up all the factors and must be mindful that it was dealing with the loss of a life. He imposed a five year sentence on the manslaughter charge and one year for the assault on Mr Murray, both to run concurrently.

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