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Margaret McLaughlin death driver accused released on bail

A 20-year-old man has appeared in court in connection with the death of the Strabane woman who was killed following a serious road traffic crash.

In the dock of Dungannon Magistrates' Court was Brian Lynch of Cloggagh, Ballyjamesduff, County Cavan, who is charged with causing death by dangerous driving, causing death or grievous bodily injury by driving without insurance and having no driving licence or insurance.

During the hearing Lynch who appeared very emotional, kept his eyes down, blinking rapidly as the charges involving the death were read to him.

All matters relate to the fatal road traffic collision in Strabane on Monday 24 April involving a car and lorry.

Read more: Priest leads tributes after his housekeeper Margaret McLaughlin dies in road accident

Margaret McLaughlin (69), was a front seat passenger in the car, which was struck by a lorry being driven by Lynch. She died in hospital from injuries sustained in the collision.

A police officer told the court he believed he could connect the accused to the charges.

He objected to bail on the grounds of potential absconding because of the seriousness of the case and that Lynch resides outside Northern Ireland.

Outlining the details he explained Lynch had driven to Muff where he viewed and purchased a cattle lorry.

Lynch set off on his way home and was traveling along the Great Northern Link in Strabane, he was approaching a green traffic light at the junction with Urney Road.

Whilst attempting to change the radio station in the lorry, Lynch noted the traffic light had turned amber and being unable to slow down in time, struck the car in which Mrs McLaughlin was a passenger.

She was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital but passed away at 1am the following morning. The driver of the car, her husband, was also injured.

The police officer confirmed Lynch gave “an open account and co-operated throughout questioning” advising he had no insurance for the vehicle and his driving licence only covered a car.

It was confirmed speed had not been an issue in the case.

A defence solicitor told the court he was unable to put forward an address in Northern Ireland, but Lynch’s father and mother had attended court with £2,000 cash for a surety.

Deputy District Judge Gerry Trainor said, “Firstly, this is obviously a most tragic set of events. The court must extend condolences to the family of Mrs McLaughlin and the injured party.”

Taking on board the willingness of Lynch’s family to support him, Judge Trainor agreed to bail.

Along with the £2,000 surety, Lynch was ordered to reside at his Ballyjamesduff home and no other, not to drive any vehicle or be in either front seat, and have no contact with any witnesses.

He is also to sign with police in Enniskillen once per week. The case was adjourned to Strabance Magistrates' Court next month.

Ordering Lynch to be released once the bail conditions are met, Judge Trainor reiterated his condolences to the victim’s family.

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