Belfast Telegraph

Student accused of causing toddler's death blames child's mother for crash, court told

By Michael Donnelly

A student accused of causing the death of a toddler in a crash blames the child's mother for the collision, a court has heard.

But a prosecutor told a Dungannon Crown Court jury that the claims by 24-year-old Queen's University student John Fahy "simply do not add up".

Fahy, from Groagagh Grange in Sligo, denies causing the death of 18-month-old Ryan Cox by driving without due care and attention on the Boa Island Road, Fermanagh, on January 14, 2013.

The architecture student also denies causing grievous bodily injury to Ryan's mother, Katriona, through careless driving.

Yesterday, the court heard of frantic efforts by a doctor and ambulance crew to save baby Ryan, who was found strapped in his baby seat looking as if he was just asleep.

As this was going on, firemen were cutting his unconscious mother from their Peugot 307 car.

In her evidence, Mrs Cox revealed she had no memory of the tragic accident, and little recollection of what she had been doing that day.

She told the court she awoke in Alnagelvin Hospital two days later with her son's blanket over her. She said her sister Noreen told her about Ryan, but it did register with her until the following day.

Earlier, the court heard prosecution claims that expert evidence would prove Fahy's Renault Megan car had been on the wrong side of the road when it collided with Mrs Cox's car, and not the other way round.

Prosecution QC Liam McCollum said that shortly before 4pm that January afternoon Mrs Cox, with baby Ryan strapped in his baby seat, had travelled just over a mile from their home when their car and Fahy's collided.

It was the prosecution case that as Fahy drove around a left-hand bend, near the entrance to Castle Caldwell Forest, he lost control, ended up on the wrong side of the road and "impacted with the motor vehicle of Mrs Cox". His driving, said Mr McCollum, fell far below that of a confident and careful driver, while Mrs Cox "was entirely on the correct side of the road".

"The impact between the two vehicles occurred on the wrong side of the road for the defendant and on the right side of the road for Mrs Cox," claimed Mr McCollum, who added that gouges and debris on the road supported those findings. He told the jury "all the objective evidence" showed the accident was caused "by the defendant going on the wrong side of the road" and by the end of the case they would have no difficulty in convicting Fahy of careless driving.

Mr McCollum said while Mrs Cox had no memory of the tragic events, Fahy attempted "to blame Mrs Cox for the accident".

Fahy, the court heard, was interviewed by police when he left hospital some two months later.

He claimed the last thing he remembered was "being in my lane", travelling at about 45 to 50mph. He told police as he came round the corner he "remembered" seeing Mrs Cox's car in front of him.

Her car, he claimed, was "going back into her lane", and the next thing, his car was spinning.

Asked by police if he was saying Mrs Cox's car was on the wrong side of the road, "he said yes".

The student, the court also heard, said that after reaching the straight part of the road he could "just remember my car spinning".

The trial, which is expected to last at least a week, continues today.

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