Belfast Telegraph

Killer driver of young mum gets six months for going on the run

By Michael Donnelly

A career criminal who was driving a stolen car when it ploughed into a young mother last month killing her outright has been handed a consecutive six-month sentence for being unlawfully at large.

Martin Alexander Nelson (39) has admitted causing Lisa Gow's death by dangerous driving while he was out on bail after his failure to return to jail.

Nelson, from Ardoyne Road in north Belfast, was being pursued by police on the Ballysillan Road in an Audi A4 car he had stolen the night before when he struck another vehicle before hitting Ms Gow on April 19.

She had just dropped off her children Olivia (8) and Riley (5) at school.

No details of the fatal incident were given to Belfast Crown Court yesterday, save that Nelson was already in custody on remand in respect of another event.

However, Nelson's solicitor Pearse McDermott said later that his client's admissions were a matter of record.

Earlier, prosecutor Simon Jenkins told Recorder Judge David McFarland that Nelson had been previously given a 15-month sentence, to be followed by 27 months on licence, for burglary and driving offences.

In late October 2017 he was given temporary leave from Magilligan Prison, but failed to return at the appointed time.

Police later contacted him by mobile phone only to be told he was with his girlfriend and would return to prison the following day.

Mr Jenkins said Nelson again failed to return to jail, but was later traced to his parents' home, where he was detained. It was while being arrested that he resisted police, he added.

However, the judge said there was a need in his case for "deterrent and meaningful sentence" for his failure to return to jail.

He said the public had concerns over how the system of prison release worked and it was important for prisoners to adhere to conditions and return when required.

Belfast Telegraph

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