Belfast Telegraph

'Boy racer' Shane Kinney weeps as he's jailed for smash that left two dead

Death crash cover-up parents betrayed us, say victims' families

By John Cassidy

A 'boy racer' broke down in court yesterday after he was jailed for causing the death of his cousin and another man.

Shane Kinney was told he would spend four-and-a-half years in custody and a further four-and-a-half years on supervised licence on his release from for what a judge described as "a dreadful accident in an almost head-on collision" that left behind a scene of "devastation and carnage".

Kinney (23), of Drones Road, Armoy, Co Antrim, appeared at Antrim Crown Court yesterday after being remanded in custody last Friday to await sentencing.

He had pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and causing grievous bodily injury to two female passengers.

Standing beside Kinney in the dock yesterday were his parents Sharon and Kevin Kinney, who admitted trying to cover up their son's role in the crash in April 2015.

Kevin Kinney (52) was jailed for six months, with a further six months to be spent on supervised licence on his release, for perverting the course of justice.

He had admitted removing his son's damaged Volkswagen Golf and getting parts for it and carrying out the work himself.

Wife Sharon (50), who lives at Drones Road with her husband, had previously pleaded guilty to helping her husband tow away her son's car.

She was spared immediate prison, instead being handed a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Judge Desmond Marrinan blasted the couple's conduct as "disgraceful and shameful behaviour".

The three-vehicle crash happened on the Cushendall Road on the outskirts of Ballycastle in the early hours of April 6, 2015.

It resulted in the death of Kinney's 26-year-old cousin Robin Wilson, against whom he was racing, and a second man, 19-year-old Johnny Black, who had been driving towards the seaside town in his Peugeot car.

A total of seven passengers were injured, including Clodagh Arbuckle and Denise Dunlop.

At the sentencing hearing yesterday Judge Marrinan said Kinney and Wilson had been racing for approximately 0.86 of a mile in what he described as a "highly dangerous activity when Robin Wilson's Bora came into contact with the rear of Shane Kinney's Golf".

The Bora then careered onto the wrong side of the road, striking almost head-on the car of Mr Black, who was coming the other way.

The judge said the photographs of the aftermath of the accident were "truly chilling".

"They show a scene of utter devastation and carnage. Both of these cars, the Bora and the Peugeot being driven by Johnny Black, were reduced to wreckage," he said. "It is by the blindness of chance that there were not more seriously injured from this nightmare scenario.

He told Shane Kinney: "You bear a substantial responsibility for causing this accident as you engaged in highly dangerous racing.

"Johnny Black was entirely innocent and bore no responsibility for what occurred.

"If you had not been racing there would not have been this accident."

Judge Marrinan said he had read a victim impact statement from Mr Black's mother Maureen, which he described as "heartrending" and which set out the anguish of her family.

The judge said it was clear that Mr Black was "an exceptional young man who was devoted to his parents and his sister and his girlfriend".

He added: "The devastation and mental toll it has taken on the family is evident from the statement.

"It is hard to measure the devastation and loss they have felt by those of us lucky never to have suffered such a loss.

"That sense of loss, that sense of devastation, cannot be softened by any sentence passed by this court on the defendant.

"These deaths and the injuries to the others were senseless and needless."

The judge said Clodagh Arbuckle suffered multiple fractures and a laceration to her liver which resulted in her being treated in hospital for several months.

Although she had made a "remarkable recovery", the judge said there had been a darker toll on her life, with Miss Arbuckle having to shelve plans to go to university.

The accident, the court heard, has had a "profound effect on her life".

Denise Dunlop also suffered multiple fractures to her body and face and she is said to have been left "deeply affected" by the horror smash with "life-changing consequences for her".

In victim impact statements, the family of Robin Wilson described life now as "a nightmare".

The judge told a sobbing Shane Kinney that the aggravating factors were that he was involved in racing with Wilson and that there had been more than one fatality.

Another aggravating factor was that Kinney left the scene; he hid his car; he advised another person not to go to the police; and he lied to the police. The packed courtroom heard that Kinney later claimed he had drunk three bottles of blue WKD, but police were unable to breathalyse him in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

The judge said that he did not accept Kinney's explanation that he "panicked" after the crash, saying that he "was determined to get away and he did so, and that meant the consumption of alcohol could not be tested".

Mr Marrinan said that he accepted that a weeping Shane Kinney had now shown "genuine remorse".

He added: "The determinate sentence faced by this defendant is one of nine years, with four-and-a-half years to be spent in prison and a further four-and-a-half years to be spent on supervised licence on your release."

Turning to his parents, the judge said they were "both prepared to protect their son at all costs, rather than showing concern for the dead or injured".

He added: "If you had had your way, his wrongdoing would have been covered up and he would never have had to answer for his crimes.

"On any showing, this was disgraceful and shameful behaviour."

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