Belfast Telegraph

Jail for teen who killed man in drunk driving road smash

By Michael Donnelly

A drunken teenage driver whose mind was “clouded by alcohol and thoughts of girls” when he smashed into a car killing a 26-year-old man was jailed for three years yesterday.

Conor Breen, who was two and a half times over the legal limit, yesterday pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of Simon Glenn and causing grievous bodily injury to three passengers — including a three-year-old girl.

Mr Glen's mother Martina (48), his 28-year-old girlfriend Karen Keown and his three-year-old niece Lilly Glenn were seriously injured in the crash on Doogary Road, Omagh, on April 2 last year.

Breen (19) of Corbo Road, Eskra, who will serve the full three-year term, will spend a further four years on supervised licensed parole.

Judge Melody McReynolds told Breen that when their “two worlds collided ... the family had the extreme misfortune to encounter you coming on the wrong side of the road”.

Prosecution QC Philip Mateer told Enniskillen Crown Court that before the crash, Breen had been chatting and texting on his mobile to a girl who told him she would never travel with him while he was drink-driving.

Mr Mateer also revealed that after the crash the drunken teen approached the mangled wreckage of the family's Vauxhall Vectra, claiming to be from the police.

Judge McReynolds said Mrs Glenn chased Breen away “quite simply disgusted at the smell of alcohol” on his breath, while he staggered off meeting up with a group of local girls who knew him.

He was “babbling, drunk and incoherent”, his mind “clouded by alcohol and thoughts of girls”, said the judge.

Defence QC Adrian Colton said remorseful Breen had been drinking to excess and alcohol was the “key factor”, which could also explain his conduct at the scene.

A witness to the crash said “he simply didn't know what he was doing”.

Earlier Mr Mateer told the court Breen, who had been drinking in the Bridge Tavern in Eskra until around 1am, was so drunk that staff took the keys of his father's jeep from him and arranged for him to be dropped off home.

However, once home, he was handed back the keys and he promptly walked back to the bar and collected the jeep.

Mr Mateer said unfortunately for the Glenn family, they were driving to Belfast to drop Mr Glenn at the airport.

He was flying to England to collect a classic car he had bought, and although his mother was to drive, he decided to instead, as she would have to drive back home along with his partner Karen and niece Lilly.

Mr Mateer said that Mrs Glenn, the front seat passenger, recalled suddenly seeing lights coming straight at them and realised at once there was going to be a collision.

Her son began to turn their car towards the verge and as a consequence took the full force of the collision, sustaining fatal brain injuries.

The lawyer added that Mrs Glenn managed to put her damaged mobile phone back together again and her 999 call was timed at shortly after 4am.

Mr Mateer said that in those early hours of the morning a girl was awakened by a phone call from Breen.

He told her he was in the jeep and she could hear the vehicle travelling along and that his voice was slurred.

She urged him to drive carefully and refused his invitation to go out with her.

They also exchanged texts, including one shortly before the crash in which she told him: “I'm never getting into the jeep when you are drink-driving.”

Belfast Telegraph


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