Belfast Telegraph

Epileptic driver who ignored doctor faces jail over crash

By George Jackson

A construction worker who ignored specialist medical advice never to drive again has been told by a judge that he's going to jail.

Declan Murray (44), a single man from Main Street in Strabane, crashed into an oncoming car, critically injuring its 60-year- old female driver, just 12 days after a consultant neurologist had told him never to get behind the wheel of a vehicle again.

The neurologist had diagnosed Murray as an epileptic who had numerous seizures.

The consultant also told Murray to inform the DVLA of his medical condition, but he never did.

Murray pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving.

He committed the offence on the outskirts of Londonderry on the Victoria Road between the villages of Newbuildings and Magheramason on May 29, 2012, after he had what he believed was an epileptic seizure.

A Public Prosecution Service barrister told Judge Philip Babington at the Crown Court that Murray was driving his Ford Transit van towards Strabane when the vehicle suddenly veered across the white line.

It crashed head-on into an oncoming car which was being driven by a childminder who had two children, one aged five and the other aged eight, in the rear passenger seat.

The two children sustained minor injuries but the childminder sustained multiple fractures to her legs and ribs and the prosecutor said such was the severity of her injuries that she was unconscious, unresponsive and paramedics believed her life was at risk.

The victim was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital where she spent the following six weeks in intensive care before she was discharged from six months after the accident.

The prosecution barrister said the injuries the woman suffered were life-changing and she now needed a crutch to enable her to walk. "The injured party is present in court today to see justice done, but she says she is not here for vengeance and she is not arguing for any particular sentence", the barrister said.

Defence barrister Stephen Mooney said the defendant, who sustained a broken sternum in the crash, went to Nigeria to work after he'd recovered from his injuries. While in Nigeria he carried out voluntary work in local villages and then travelled to Vietnam to work on charitable projects in that country also.

"He accepts he is going to jail. He accepts he caused catastrophic injuries and suffering to an entirely innocent and blameless woman," he said.

"He is absolutely saddled with remorse since this happened. The case has eaten away at him and through a third party he had made several discreet inquiries in relation to the health of the injured party.

"He wishes to express his absolute and complete remorse to her."

Judge Babington said he would sentence Murray next Wednesday and remanded him in custody until then.

"He is going to jail," Judge Babington said.

Belfast Telegraph


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