Man who gave evidence in killer driver case sentenced over drugs
A man who gave evidence against a driver convicted of causing the death of young mother Natasha Carruthers has been given a suspended sentence for drugs offences which "set the scene" in the days prior to the tragic collision.
Nathan Phair (23) from Castlebalfour Park, Lisnaskea, was found guilty on Monday of dangerous driving and grievous injury to a second passenger on October 7, 2017, following a high-speed pursuit after a failed drug deal.
Natasha was the front seat passenger in her Vauxhall Corsa, driven by Phair at Newbridge Road, Derrylin. He had denied any responsibility for her death, as well as being involved in drug dealing.
Chasing the Corsa was Padraig Toher (28) from Co Cavan, who admitted manslaughter as his BMW made "deliberate contact" causing death. He did not stand trial.
Yesterday in Omagh Crown Court was Andrew Waters (42), of Station Road, Florencecourt, who was a front-seat passenger in the BMW giving chase. He had already pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in offering to supply cocaine in 2017.
He could not be sentenced before Phair's trial concluded.
Yesterday the prosecution outlined the matters leading up to the tragedy and Waters' role in the drugs issues.
It was accepted he had nothing to do with Natasha's death and his evidence formed a crucial element of the prosecution case, as he provided information on previous drug transactions between Phair and Toher, as well as an account of the high-speed chase.
Waters knew Toher through motorcycling, and when Toher asked him where to get cocaine, Waters told him: "Nathan Phair."
He described a meeting between the pair at a Newtownbutler GAA pitch, where Toher paid Phair £440 for a bag of cocaine.
On the evening of Natasha's death Waters was again with Toher when they spotted the Corsa parked, with Phair behind the wheel and Natasha in the front. Clutching an iron bar, Toher tapped the Corsa driver's window before demanding his money. He then smashed the window and struck the windscreen.
Waters described what became a 12-mile pursuit, at times reaching speeds of 100mph along rural roads and through villages, resulting in the crash.
Handing Waters 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, Judge Paul Ramsey QC accepted while the defendant had "set the scene" to the tragic outcome, he played no direct part and did not profit from any of the drug deals.