Belfast Telegraph

Pair who killed 72-year-old in crash kept in custody ahead of sentencing

By John Cassidy

Two men have been remanded in custody after causing the death of a Co Down pensioner more than two years ago.

Che McManus (19), of Carriff Court, Downpatrick, pleaded guilty last month to causing the death of Patrick Wilkinson by dangerous driving in June 2014.

The 72-year-old was struck in what was claimed at the time to have been a race between two cars.

Daryl Kirton (23), formerly of Crossgar but now with an address at Fell Street in Liverpool, pleaded not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, but guilty to causing death by careless driving.

He further admitted to causing the death of Mr Wilkinson while driving with no insurance.

Prosecution counsel David McDowell QC told Downpatrick Crown Court that Mr Wilkinson was helping to herd cattle into his son-in-law Patrick Magee's small farm on the Killard Road in Ballyhornan when he was fatally injured by McManus's blue Vauxhall Corsa car at 4.15pm on June 25.

He said Mr Wilkinson had parked his Land Rover Discovery across the road to help herd the cattle into the yard.

"Once all the cattle were in the yard, he moved the Discovery to face the direction of Ballyhornan," he added.

"He was standing with another man, Martin Byrne. Mr Byrne saw the blue Vauxhall Corsa car come round the corner from the direction of Kilclief.

"Mr Byrne said the car lost control and started to spin around and rotate and ended up facing the wrong way.

"The car struck the Land Rover Discovery and also Mr Wilkinson, trapping him underneath the vehicle."

The court heard the Corsa had been following behind a black Seat Cupra, and earlier that day the cars were spotted on CCTV driving through Ballyhornan.

Mr Wilkinson died at the scene from his injuries.

When spoken to by police at the scene, Kirton said: "I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a puff of smoke."

Mr McDowell said: "The deceased's daughter, Patricia Magee, saw her father underneath the car. She was screaming: 'Call 999, call 999'.

"She shouted at McManus: 'Look what you have done, you b*****d. You have killed my father'. McManus gesticulated to her and gave her the middle finger."

An expert witness estimated that as the car spun around it was travelling at a speed of between 40 and 51 mph.

McManus had only passed his test three months earlier in March 2014.

Judge Grant heard victim impact statements on the deceased's family described as "heart-wrenching in nature".

The pair will remain in custody until sentencing next month.

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