Belfast Telegraph

Prison term for drink driver who injured two women in road crash

By Staff Reporter

A drink driver who lost control of his BMW and smashed head-on into another car, causing life-changing injuries to two female occupants, has been jailed for three years.

Dungannon Crown Court heard that after the incident, Paul Hollywood denied being the driver and refused to provide an evidential breath specimen.

The 26-year-old of Crockanboy Road, Omagh, admitted driving whilst unfit and two counts of causing grievous bodily harm to the women.

He had driven between five different pubs on August 7, 2016, consuming alcohol at each, the court heard.

It was while travelling along the Beltany Road, Omagh, that he rounded a left-hand bend, lost control of the vehicle and ploughed into the victims' car.

After the collision, police spoke to Hollywood at the scene and believed him to have consumed alcohol.

Asked what had occurred, he replied: "I was not the driver. I was not driving and that's the truth."

A witness described Hollywood's behaviour, stating: "He looked and sounded drunk.

"He didn't seem to care and was very cheeky and rowdy."

Hollywood gave a preliminary breath sample which read 81mcg, but later refused to provide an evidential specimen.

The victims sustained injuries which were described in court as "life-changing".

One suffered a broken leg requiring a permanent metal plate to be fitted. Her left ankle was broken and the heel was so badly shattered it is unclear if it can be repaired. The second victim also sustained serious injuries including a broken chest bone and left foot, a hole in her bowel and laceration of her abdomen.

Whilst recovering, she developed a clot in her left leg requiring additional and ongoing treatment.

Both women required surgery for their injuries and remain affected physically and psychologically, the court heard.

When Hollywood was first formally questioned, he admitted driving the vehicle but then, on return for a second interview, claimed another person was driving, providing police with a name.

Enquiries revealed this to be untrue and Hollywood later changed back to his original admission, but said he had no memory of the incident.

Prosecution counsel Kieran Harvey said the case was aggravated by Hollywood's irresponsible behaviour at the scene, his attempt to deflect from his guilt and the fact there had been a pub crawl ending with a collision.

Pointing out Hollywood's claimed lack of memory, Mr Harvey referred to a medical report which stated: "There is some doubt over the veracity of the amnesia."

The prosecutor also claimed that Hollywood had not provided the full story behind the incident.

Defence counsel Michael Ford said his client offered his "sincere apologies" to both victims.

He added: "His pain and suffering pales into insignificance to theirs.

"He accepts that he had a choice as the whether or not to drive and he chose to get into the car. His victims had no choice and the consequences were so unnecessary, so avoidable."

Urging Judge Stephen Fowler QC not to impose a custodial sentence, he said: "This was largely out of character for my client.

"He is hard-working, attends mass every Sunday, gives to charity and is involved in his local football and boxing clubs."

Judge Fowler commented that Hollywood had been on an organised pub crawl, and pointed out that there was "deliberate reticence" to provide police with an evidential breath specimen, then claims of no memory of alcohol consumption.

The judge continued: "He was over the legal alcohol limit and well he knows it."

He sentenced Hollywood to three years imprisonment - with half to be spent on supervised licence - and disqualified him from driving for four years.

Belfast Telegraph


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