Belfast Telegraph

Antrim man admits to killing university professor Edmund Cairns and hurting his own son

By Paul Higgins

A north Antrim man faces up to five years in jail after he admitted killing a university professor by careless driving .

The Antrim Crown Court trial of Geoffrey William McLaughlin (40) was dramatically halted two days after it started when defence QC Martin O'Rourke asked for the charges to be put to him again.

McLaughlin, from Ford Road in Stranocum near Ballymoney, had been accused of causing the death of Professor Edmund Cairns by dangerous driving and of causing grievous bodily injury to his own 13-year-old son, also by dangerous driving, on the Ballyrashane Road in Coleraine on February 16, 2012.

However, at his rearraignment McLaughlin admitted causing the 66-year-old's death and injuring his son by careless driving, pleas which prosecution QC Terence Mooney said were acceptable to the Crown.

No facts of the case were opened yesterday as Judge Desmond Marrinan adjourned passing sentence. However, it is understood the tragedy happened when McLaughlin's van collided with a car being driven by Prof Cairns, a married father-of-three, close to his home.

McLaughlin himself and his two sons, who were in the vehicle with him at the time, were injured in the collision.

After the short 15 minute hearing yesterday morning, McLaughlin was released on continuing bail and will be sentenced on June 25 when pre-sentence probation reports have been compiled.

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