Three years for killer driver who mowed down his cousin during feud
A man who mowed down and killed his cousin following a disagreement over a garden shed has been handed a three-year sentence.
Dungannon Crown Court judge Mr Justice Weir told Anthony Joseph Quinn (23) that he will spend 18 months in prison followed by 18 months on supervised licence after his release from custody for a "serious case of bad driving" which resulted in the death of 37-year old Declan Quinn.
Quinn, from Maplebrook Hill, Coalisland, was originally charged with murdering and causing the death by dangerous driving of his second cousin, but the charges were withdrawn when he pleaded guilty to his manslaughter.
Mr Justice Weir, sitting in Belfast's Laganside courthouse, told Quinn that on July 16, 2011 "you deliberately drove blindly in the direction of two men who you knew to be on the road" after ducking down behind the wheel.
Quinn, a disqualified driver, was driving a Vauxhall Corsa on Gortgonis Road in the Co Tyrone town when he hit his cousin, who was flung over the bonnet of the car into the air.
He later claimed that he thought the 37-year-old had been armed with a handgun, but there was no evidence to suggest this was the case.
Declan, who suffered brain injuries, a severed spinal cord, broken neck and two broken legs, died in hospital two days after the fateful collision following his family's decision to turn off the life support machine. The court heard that Declan's brother Joseph, who is a priest, administered the last rites to his brother, who sustained what the judge described as "catastrophic injuries".
Earlier this week prosecuting QC Philip Mateer said that Quinn had gone to his father's home in his grandmother's car after receiving a call shortly before 9am that morning that his house was under attack by three men. The intruders, two of Quinn's cousins, and another man, had gone to his father's to complain about a shed which had been set on fire.
As Quinn arrived the men were leaving, and as he reversed away he was chased in a Mercedes car by one cousin, while another cousin Declan Quinn and a third man chased after him on foot. Mr Mateer said Quinn managed to give the Mercedes the slip by doing a handbrake turn and was returning in the direction of his father's when he came upon the other two men on a traffic island on the main road.
As well as being handed a three-year sentence, the judge also banned Quinn from driving for six years.
The victim's brother Fr Joseph Quinn said: "A nightmare began for us as a family on the 16th of July 2011 when Declan was killed by Tony Quinn. We lost a son, a brother, an uncle and a friend with a smile that brightened all who knew Declan. We accept the apology and outpouring of remorse Tony Quinn has made through his barrister about the killing of Declan. A glimmer of light has shone through the pain of the loss of Declan as he always carried a donor card. Thanks to Declan's thoughtfulness and kindness and willingness to share, seven people and their extended families have been given the chance of a better quality of life."