Belfast Telegraph

Unlicensed drink-driver Conor McSorley's crash left girlfriend brain-damaged, court told

A woman was left permanently brain-damaged after her boyfriend crashed his car after drinking, Derry Crown Court was told yesterday (stock photo)
A woman was left permanently brain-damaged after her boyfriend crashed his car after drinking, Derry Crown Court was told yesterday (stock photo)

By George Jackson

A woman was left permanently brain-damaged after her boyfriend crashed his car after drinking, Derry Crown Court was told yesterday.

A prosecution barrister said the vehicle crashed on Maydown dual carriageway on the outskirts of the city 16 months ago.

He told Judge Philip Babington that the woman, a 28-year-old, had suffered serious neurological injuries in the crash, which happened the day after her birthday.

"She remains quite childlike and requires care and attention 24-seven. Her mother looks after her at weekends and her father during the week. She requires assistance at all times," he added.

The prosecutor made the comments during the plea and sentencing hearing of Conor McSorley (20), from Rathbeg Crescent in Limavady.

He pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily injury to his girlfriend by careless driving while drunk, driving without insurance and without a licence.

McSorley committed the offences on December 20, 2017, the day after he bought his Renault Clio car for £200.

On the afternoon of the crash, McSorley drove his girlfriend and members of her family to Portrush. During that journey they warned him about the manner of his driving.

Hours later, when he was alone with his girlfriend in the car, McSorley struck a kerb as he drove along Maydown dual carriageway in the direction of Eglinton. He was driving at 49mph in a 50mph zone. His car rolled over, crashed into trees and ended up in a roadside ditch.

Two women stopped at the scene, tried to give assistance and called the emergency services. McSorley appeared from behind bushes and said: "There is a young girl in the car down there and she is in a bad way".

The prosecutor said the defendant told the women he had not been in the car but had been walking along the road when he saw the crash. The women told the police that the crashed car was similar to one which had overtaken them.

When the emergency services arrived, they found the victim slumped in the front passenger seat. She had to be cut out of the car before she was taken to Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

"He denied knowing the injured to the police at the scene who were trying to establish her identity so they could inform her family", the barrister said.

The court heard that after he was arrested, McSorley, who was found to have been slightly over the drink-driving limit, made a no-comment interview but handed a pre-prepared statement to police in which he had written, "I pray to God she pulls through".

The prosecutor said McSorley had committed previous driving offences the year before the crash and had been assessed by a probation officer as having a high likelihood of reoffending within the next two years.

Judge Babington said he wished to convey the sympathies of the court to the victim's family.

McSorley was remanded in custody until for sentencing next Thursday.

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