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Road death accused Fahy 'lost control of car'

Evidence shows student hit vehicle in which child died, expert tells court

By Michael Donnelly

Published 08/12/2015

John Michael Fahy (25) is accused of causing the death of 19-month-old Ryan John Cox almost three years ago
John Michael Fahy (25) is accused of causing the death of 19-month-old Ryan John Cox almost three years ago
Ryan John Cox and mum, Katriona

A forensic expert who carried out a reconstruction of a road accident that killed a toddler said he believes a former student driving in the opposite direction lost control of his vehicle before the two cars collided.

John Michael Fahy (25) is accused of causing the death of 19-month-old Ryan John Cox almost three years ago.

The former Ulster University architectural student from Groagagh Grange in Sligo denies causing the death of Ryan and injuring the youngster's mum, Katriona, through careless driving on the Boa Island Road in Fermanagh on January 14, 2013.

An expert in traffic collisions told Dungannon Crown Court that, in his opinion, the student lost control of his borrowed Renault Megane car and crashed into Mrs Cox's oncoming Peugeot 307, sending both vehicles spinning out of control.

However, in a statement to police two months later, Fahy was "adamant" he had been on his own side of the road and the last thing he remembered was seeing Mrs Cox attempting "to correct, to get back into her lane", the car then spinning, someone asking for his phone and him waking up in hospital.

Mrs Cox made a statement to police which was also read to the court, in which she said she had "very little recollection of the whole day", and had been on her way to Ballyshannon to meet up with her sister. The next thing she remembered was waking up in hospital.

Forensic expert Damien Cowl told prosecuting QC, Liam McCollum, he carried out a reconstruction of the accident scene which he got police to photograph after he had placed the vehicles at what he termed "the maximum area of engagement".

The photos, seen by the jury, showed Mrs Cox's car in her own lane. The passenger side of the Renault, driven by Fahy, was embedded at an angle in the front of the driver's side of the Peugeot.

Mr Cowl said both vehicles had been travelling at about the same speed, between 52 and 54mph, and it was his opinion that, as the driver of the Megane attempted to negotiate the left hand bend, "he commenced to lose control of the car". He said his findings were based on the damage to both vehicles, the gouge marks on the roadway left by the Peugeot's anti-roll bar, and the spread of debris.

Later, the court heard Fahy's account that he was travelling from his Sligo home to his student digs in Belfast. He told officers that he was "in no hurry" and remembered slowing from 60mph to between 45 to 50mph, with "the engine braking around the corner ... that's when the incident happened". The last thing, he said he remembered was "being in my own lane".

His lawyers are expected to open their defence case today, before trial judge Madam Justice McBride and the jury.

Belfast Telegraph

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