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Drink driver who mowed down teen student Enda Dolan to face review of 'lenient' sentence

By Rebecca Black

Published 12/07/2016

Niamh and Peter Dolan
Niamh and Peter Dolan
Enda Dolan

The controversial sentence imposed on a drink and drug driver who killed a student is to be reviewed, it has emerged.

David Lee Stewart was in April told he would serve three-and-a-half years after being convicted of causing the death of Enda Dolan by dangerous driving.

The Tyrone teenager was walking along the Malone Road in south Belfast in October 2014 when Stewart's vehicle mounted the pavement and careered in to him.

Stewart (31), from Gray's Park Avenue in south Belfast, had consumed six pints of beer and four Jagerbombs and had taken drugs before hitting the 18-year-old.

He was handed a seven-year sentence, half of which will be served behind bars.

The punishment sparked outrage across Northern Ireland, and Enda's father Peter branded the sentence "a disgrace" and said it made "a mockery of the judicial system".

Mr Dolan added his family received messages of support from across the community after the sentencing, after which this newspaper launched the Justice for Enda campaign.

The grieving father and his wife, Niamh, have been calling since then for tougher sentences for those convicted of death by dangerous driving.

Stewart's sentence was reviewed by the Public Prosecutions Service, which has referred the case to the Court of Appeal to be heard on September 9.

"In the very near future, we will have some kind of result in our particular case, and we will see what happens there," Mr Dolan told the Belfast Telegraph.

He also called on the public and political representatives to speak out about the issue.

"I think it is important that people and certainly MLAs try to promote and encourage the changing of the law," he said.

"We have had cross-party support. We feel that the MLAs need to come out and support our campaign to get the law changed.

"The thing about it is, death by dangerous driving is not selective, it doesn't discriminate against sex or religion, race or age. Everyone can be affected.

"It is important that this happens sooner rather than later. It cannot drag on - it needs to be addressed now."

After Mr Dolan met with Justice Minister Claire Sugden last month, he said they had a very positive meeting. "She (Ms Sugden) has announced the sentencing review, in which she will review the legislation in relation to causing death by dangerous driving, so we would be fairly hopeful that the sentencing will be certainly increased from 14 years," he added. "We are proposing at least 20 years."

Enda, from Killyclogher, was studying architecture at Queen's University, Belfast. He was walking to his student accommodation at Elms Village when a van driven by Stewart mounted a footpath and hit him.

After the incident, Stewart drove on for 800 metres with the teenager on the roof of his vehicle.

He later admitted a series of charges linked to Enda's death, including causing death by dangerous driving.

He will spend three-and-a-half years in prison, followed by the same amount of time on licence, and was banned from driving for five years.

Mr Dolan has also backed road safety charity Brake's campaign Roads to Justice, which in dramatic scenes yesterday brought to Westminster the wreckage of a car whose driver was killed.

Joseph Brown-Lartey died as his vehicle was split in half by a car driven by Addil Haroon in Rochdale in 2014. Haroon was later jailed for six years.

Mr Brown-Lartey's father said the sentence was like being "kicked in the teeth twice".

Figures from Brake show that 68% of people think drivers who kill should be jailed for a minimum of 10 years. The average prison sentence for someone in that position is under four years.

Belfast Telegraph

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