Belfast Telegraph

Woman who refused to give breath sample witnessed son’s road death

Laura McGavigan was fined £100 and given three penalty points on her licence
Laura McGavigan was fined £100 and given three penalty points on her licence

By George Jackson

A suspected drunk driver who failed to give a breath specimen had previously witnessed the death of her young son in a road accident, a court has heard.

A solicitor told Londonderry Magistrates Court that Laura McGavigan (34) had seen her two-year-old son, Ronan, killed outside her home in the Brandywell area of the city in 2016.

She admitted a single charge of failing to give a breath specimen after she was arrested on suspicion of being drunk while in charge of a car.

Brian Stelfox said the boy was knocked down and killed by a motorist outside McGavigan's Lone Moor Road home.

A solicitor for the Public Prosecution Service told District Judge Barney McElholm that on the morning of June 15, the police received a report of a suspected drink-driver who had parked her car in the forecourt of a garage at Abercorn Road.

When the police arrived the defendant was in the driver's seat and the engine was running. The police detected alcohol on the defendant's breath and, after she failed a preliminary breath test at the scene, she was arrested and taken to Strand Road Police Station, where she refused to give a breath specimen.

Mr Stelfox handed in to the District Judge a letter written by the defendant which outlined what he called her tragic family circumstances.

He said the defendant, who had a previously clear record, was a vulnerable woman with a tragic personal background."

The District Judge fined the defendant £100 and imposed three penalty points on her licence.

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