| 6°C Belfast

Natasha Carruthers: Pair convicted over mum's death given combined 23-year sentence

Two men who caused the death of a young Fermanagh mum in a road crash in 2017 have been jailed for a combined 11-and-a-half years.

Cavan man Padraig Toher, who admitted 23-year-old Natasha Carruthers' manslaughter, and her boyfriend, Nathan Charles Phair who was convicted of causing her death by dangerous driving, were sentenced to a total of 23 years.

They were involved in a 12-mile car chase along country roads and through villages at speeds reaching up to 100mph.

Judge Neil Rafferty QC ordered them to serve half of their sentences in prison followed by a similar period under supervised licence, which if broken would mean their immediate return to prison.

Natasha died instantly when thrown through the windscreen of her blue Vauxhall Corsa car, driven by Phair, after it struck a tree at over 60mph on the outskirts of the Fermanagh village of Derrylin on October 7, 2017.

At the time 23-year-old Phair was trying to evade the black BMW of 29-year-old Toher, whom he's "stroked" the previous evening by making off with £440 of his money, without supplying him Cocaine, as he had in the past.

The Dungannon Crown Court judge, sitting in Belfast, said the pair were guilty of openly wanton outragous driving with a total disregard for other road users which resulted in the untimely death of the young mum, known to her family as Tasha.

Toher from Bawnnoy, Ballyconnell, who admitted making "deliberate contact", ramming his BMW numerous times into the back of the Vauxhall, was sentenced to 12 years, six in custody, six on licence, together with a 10-year driving ban.

Phair, nicknamed 'Panda', a self-confessed unlicenced and uninsured driver from Castlebalfour Park, Lisnaskea, who has already lodged an appeal against his conviction, was sentenced to 11 years with five-and-a-half years in prison and the same period on licence.

However, his driving period will be one of 15 year.

Belfast Telegraph