Belfast Telegraph

Driver jailed for killing professor

By Michael Donnelly

A former joiner who had blamed a world-renowned retired psychology expert for the fatal road smash which claimed the academic's life has been jailed for six months and banned from driving for three years.

Antrim Crown Court Judge Desmond Marrinan told Geoffrey William McLaughlin (40) that while it maybe natural to avoid blame, what he did to Professor Edmund Cairns was "particularly mean-spirited".

"It is perhaps only human to seek to avoid blame, but it is particularly mean-spirited to blame an innocent man who can no longer defend himself," said Judge Marrinan.

He added that McLaughlin, from Ford Road in Stranocum near Ballymoney, waited until the day of his trial last month before abandoning his blame-game.

McLaughlin then admitted it was his careless driving which claimed the life of the 66-year-old former University of Ulster scholar in February 2012 near Coleraine.

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