Belfast Telegraph

Enda Dolan family anger after killer driver David Lee Stewart is jailed for three and a half years

By Adrian Rutherford

The parents of a teenage student knocked down and killed by a drunk driver spoke of their anger after he was jailed for just three and a half years.

Enda Dolan was walking along the Malone Road in south Belfast in October 2014 when he was hit by David Lee Stewart (31).

Stewart of Grays Park Avenue in Belfast - who had consumed drink and drugs prior to the fatal collision - drove with 18-year-old Enda on his roof for around 800 metres before stopping.

A court heard Stewart had consumed 13 drinks, including six pints of beer and four Jagerbombs.

Stewart's passenger, William Ross Casement (21), who he had been drinking with in the hours leading up to the collision, got out of the vehicle.

He returned to the passenger seat, and Stewart proceeded to drive from the scene before crashing into a lamppost further along the Malone Road.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC told David Lee Stewart that his behaviour on the night he killed Enda was "appalling".

On Wednesday at Laganside Crown Court Stewart, of Gray's Park Avenue in Belfast, was jailed for three and a half years.

Belfast Crown Court heard of the devastating impact Enda's death - which occurred on his sister's 16th birthday - has had on his family and friends. Following her son's death, Enda's mother Niamh has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Following his release, Stewart will spend a further three and a half years on licence.

After hearing how much alcohol Stewart had consumed prior to the fatal collision, Judge Gordon Kerr told him: "The amount that night would not have been out of place at a stag night." Stewart was also told that due to his alcoholic intake, he had "no business driving a vehicle."

The court heard that Stewart - who had to be cut out of his van after crashing into a lamppost - refused to give a blood or breath sample, but when the test was eventually done, he was found to be three times over the legal limit.

Stewart also told police he had only drunk two pints of shandy whilst watching a Northern Ireland football match - but he later pleaded guilty to five offences including dangerous driving causing the death of Enda.

Casement, of Belvoir Drive in Belfast, was given 50 hours' community service and two years on probation. He was also banned from driving for 12 months.

Enda, a talented first year architecture student from Co Tyrone, had just started Queen's University and was making his way back to the Elms Village in the early hours of October 15, 2014 after spending the night with friends when he was struck by the van.

He sustained fatal head and spinal injuries including a broken neck, and despite passers-by rushing to his aid, Enda was pronounced dead at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Judge Kerr QC told a packed court that Enda's death was a tragedy, and said "no sentence can ever reflect the pain and suffering of all who knew and loved this young man."

Branding Enda's death as "senseless and needless", Judge Kerr acknowledged the impact the fatal collision has had on the family.

Judge Kerr also read from an article which was published in the Christian Brothers School Magazine in Omagh - where Enda attended and was a prefect - where he was described as a gifted musician, a hard-working pupil and a modest, down to earth young man.

A teacher said Enda was an "extremely talented" and a "remarkable young man", adding that he "felt privileged to have taught him".

Speaking outside court, Enda's father, Peter Dolan, criticised the sentences.

He said the family had been left with a "life sentence".

"Our lives have been ruined, shattered and damaged beyond repair and we have been left with a life sentence," Mr Dolan said.

"In our opinion there has been absolutely no remorse for Enda's death until Friday, ironically, when Stewart and Casement were due to be sentenced, and that angers us deeply."

Mr Dolan urged the courts to take tougher action.

"So many other parents have stood in our shoes disappointed and disgusted on the sentence and many more will unfortunately do so in the future unless something is done to deter individuals from driving under the influence of drink and drugs," he added.

Mr Dolan said they think about Enda all the time.

"Over the past year and a half we wonder how his appearance would have changed, what sort of man he would be and how he would be progressing in his career had his life not been cut short.

"We have to deal with the loss of Enda every hour of every day for the rest of our lives.

"The missed family celebrations, the Christmases, the family holidays, the 21st birthday he won't have, the exams that he never sat, the graduation never attended, the engagement, the wedding, the grandchildren that will never be.

"This is our life sentence."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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