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Driver who killed gran in collision avoids jail

By Ashleigh McDonald

A father-of-three who caused a collision on the main Bangor to Belfast road resulting in the death of a 75-year-old woman has been ordered to complete 220 hours community service.

Quin Long Guo was also banned from driving for a year after he admitted causing the death of great-grandmother Norma Diffley by careless driving.

The collision between Guo (35), from Springfield Road in Bangor, and Mrs Diffley occurred on the busy A2 Bangor to Belfast dual carriageway on a stretch known as the Devil's Elbow.

Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard that as Guo was driving to Bangor his Volkswagen Tiguan crossed onto the wrong side of the dual carriageway and into the Belfast-bound lane of the Suzuki jeep being driven by Mrs Diffley.

The boutique owner from Groomsport died at the scene from the injuries she sustained in the collision.

The court heard Mrs Diffley was a much-loved and respected member of the community, was a Sunday school teacher and church warden, and was known for her kindness.

Yesterday's hearing was also told of the significant and lasting impact her death has had on the family circle - and in particular her two daughters and granddaughter, who were handed a letter written to them by Guo.

Passing sentence, Judge Brian Sherrard said: "I did not know Mrs Diffley but, because of my involvement in this case, I have learned a tremendous amount about her.

"Everything I have read tells me that she was a lady who was generous of spirit and full of grace. She was also a lady who gave up much of her time in benefit of her local community."

Handing the defendant the community service order, the 35-year-old was told: "Mr Guo, by your careless driving you have deprived our community of a cherished and valued member.

"I consider it appropriate to require you to put something back into our community in the hope of restoring something positive out of this dreadful event."

The court heard Guo, who moved to Ireland in 2003, was a man of good character and lives in Northern Ireland on temporary visa working in the hospitality industry.

Defence barrister Brian McCartney QC, representing Guo, spoke of the "deep impact" the fatal collision has had on him, adding: "He now suffers from nightmares and night sweats, and the accident continues to haunt him."

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