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Widow's tears as drink-driving ex-officer admits to causing crash

By Mickey Donnelly

A widow wept in court as a former policewoman pleaded guilty to causing the death of a 49-year-old father-of-two by dangerous and drunken driving.

Co Tyrone woman Eilish MacSherry was off-duty at the time of the fatal smash that claimed the life of Paul Mills.

It happened on the outskirts of Omagh on October 10 last year.

The 41-year-old from Brookmount Heights, Omagh, who has since left the PSNI, pleaded guilty to a total of four charges at Omagh Crown Court, sitting in Dungannon.

They included being involved in a hit-and-run accident at the same location earlier that same day.

Mr Mills' widow Anne watched from the public gallery with family and friends.

She wept as MacSherry admitted dangerous driving, and dangerous driving causing the death of Mr Mills, from Glenside in nearby Killyclogher.

MacSherry continued with her guilty pleas, admitting she failed to stop at the scene of an injury accident, and that while driving on the Clanabogan Road she was unfit through drink or drugs.

Defence QC Frank O'Donoghue said that "alcohol dependency is a feature of this case".

Mr O'Donoghue added that his client "has been dry since this accident happened".

He said that the sentencing guidelines in cases such as the former policewoman were a matter of record, and that she was under "no illusions" in relation to these.

Judge Neil Rafferty QC told MacSherry that she would be going to jail for the serious charges she had just pleaded guilty to.

"The offences have had a devastating impact, as they always do, on the family involved," he said.

And Mr Raffery added: "You should be in no doubt that a significant custodial sentence is inevitable."

Prosecution QC Ciaran Murphy said a victim impact statement would be obtained from the Mills' family before sentencing on February 3, when a summary of the facts would be presented to the court.

No details of the tragic events of that Saturday in October were given during yesterday's 10-minute hearing.

However, at the time of the fatal crash it was reported that MacSherry's Saab Vector car and the Toyota Yaris of Mr Mills were involved in a collision on Dromore Road, on the outskirts of Omagh.

Although rushed to hospital, Mr Mills succumbed to his injuries.

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