Belfast Telegraph

Mum’s relief as man convicted over crash that killed Natasha Carruthers

Victim: Natasha Carruthers
Victim: Natasha Carruthers

By Staff Reporter

The mother of a young woman killed in a horror crash has spoken of her relief after a man was convicted of causing her death.

Nathan Phair was yesterday found guilty of causing the death of Natasha Carruthers (23), a mum-of-one, by dangerous driving.

Phair, described by his defence team as "a rascal, but not callous or calculating", was also convicted of causing grievous bodily injury to a second passenger, driving while unfit and possessing and supplying drugs.

It followed a four-week trial at Dungannon Crown Court.

Afterwards Natasha's mother Jill McKeown said she was glad the trial was over.

"It was the right outcome but it will never bring Natasha back," she said.

"Natasha's daughter will be her legacy and the family just want to move forward."

It can now be revealed that Phair is currently serving a prison sentence for burglary, in which he targeted an elderly, vulnerable person - the second time he has committed such an offence.

Phair (23), from Castlebalfour Park, Lisnaskea, admitted driving without a licence or insurance on October 7, 2017, but was adamant he bore no responsibility for Natasha's death following a high-speed chase.

He also denied the drugs charges. Co-defendant Padraig Toher (28), from Co Cavan, did not stand trial with Phair, having admitted manslaughter as his BMW made "deliberate contact" causing death.

Natasha was the front-seat passenger in her Vauxhall Corsa, driven by Phair at Newbridge Road, Derrylin, which lost control, entered a clockwise rotation, struck a tree on the passenger side and continued on before coming rest on a hedge.

The engine was jettisoned into a field. Ejected on impact, Natasha was flung onto the road, but the car continued moving, eventually halting on top of her.

Andrew Waters, who was a passenger in the chasing BMW, gave evidence against Phair during the trial.

He has accepted a number of drugs offences in the run up to the fatal collision and is awaiting sentence.

After less than two hours of deliberation, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all charges.

Natasha's heartbroken mother, who stoically sat through every day of the trial, wept quietly and was comforted by family members.

Phair showed no emotion or reaction as the guilty pleas were read. Judge Neil Rafferty QC thanked the jury for their conscientiousness in a very complex case which lasted longer than anticipated.

Pre-sentence reports are to be prepared and Phair was returned to custody. He will be sentenced at a later date.

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