Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Family ‘insulted’ by killer driver sentence

A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to four years in jail for killing a teenager in a hit-and-run in Londonderry.

Andrew McGlinchey, of Cornshell Fields, admitted causing the death of David Leo Brennan by driving with excess alcohol in his system.

He also admitted failing to stop, remain or report the accident at Madam's Bank Road last April 3.

McGlinchey will serve two years in jail before being released on licence for another two years.

Londonderry Crown Court heard yesterday that McGlinchey had been drinking on the evening of 3 April 2009. A friend in another car saw a man stepping into the road and being hit by Mr McGlinchey’s car.

The court was told that McGlinchey did not stop but drove off with Mr Brennan on the bonnet of his car.

Mr Brennan was carried a considerable distance along the road before being thrown off the vehicle. McGlinchey still did not stop and his car was later found burnt-out with all the windows, numberplates and make and model badges removed.

Police arrested McGlinchey later that morning. A breath test was carried out which showed he was two-thirds over the legal alcohol limit.

Mr McGlinchey admitted his involvement but initially claimed that Mr Brennan had run out in front of him, giving him no chance to avoid him, the court was told.

However, Judge Grant said he was satisfied that Mr Brennan, although he too had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol, did not run out and concluded that McGlinchey should have had ample time to see him and warn him, or to take evasive action.

Speaking about the Brennan family, the judge added: “Their grief at the loss of a son in such dreadful circumstances will remain acute for a very long time, probably for much of their lives.

“Their loss is an irreplaceable one”.

Judge Grant also told McGlinchey that “you will have to carry a considerable burden for the rest of your life.

“I mention this at this stage in the hope that this will help the family to cope with their loss.

“I also recognise that any sentence imposed by me will not bring Mr Brennan back to his relatives and will do little to repair or remove the upset and hurt suffered by them.”

The victim's mother Denise, who was in court with her husband and with other family members, wept throughout the sentencing hearing.

Meanwhile, speaking after the sentencing, Dermot Brennan, the victim’s father, said he and his family felt let down by the judicial process.

He said: “We are absolutely disgusted at the sentencing, we are still in total shock.

“The justice system has failed us and it is an insult to the people of Northern Ireland.

“Our son's life has been valued at two years. McGlinchey's family can go and visit him while he's in jail and we can only visit our son's grave.

“He knocked down and killed our son, drove off, set fire to his car, he was drunk at the time and he didn't even report the accident. For all that he gets two years in jail.

“We just cannot accept that, nor can we understand it.”

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