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Prison for drink and drug driver who fled car crash that killed friend

By Ashleigh McDonald

A man who killed his friend in a drunken car crash on the outskirts of Belfast and then fled the scene was jailed for two-and-a-half years yesterday.

Ciaran Paul Ferris-Farrelly (23) took his father's vehicle after drinking 10 beers and one shot of Goldschlager and snorting two lines of cocaine.

When he lost control of the Peugeot 406 estate on the Upper Springfield Road, his friend, John Paul McShane, was thrown from the rear of the vehicle.

Ferris-Farrelly, who at the time of the crash held a provisional licence, was told by Judge Gordon Kerr QC that after being released from prison, he would spend two-and-a-half years on licence.

During sentencing at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Kerr also banned the father-of-one, from Lagmore View in Dunmurry, from driving for five years.

Judge Kerr said that after the smash in June 2014, Ferris-Farrelly "fled the scene, leaving someone he described as a friend dead as a result of his behaviour", and that ever since the incident he had provided "no rational explanation" for his actions.

The court heard family and friends of 18-year-old John Paul McShane were left devastated.

Judge Kerr said a victim impact report on the deceased's mother set out "the indescribable hurt and destruction" her son's death had caused.

Mr Kerr said she talked of her son's "caring and loving nature" and how he brought "joy and happiness" to all who knew him.

He added: "She also spoke of the help he gave to others and the cross-community work he did and wished to pursue."

Judge Kerr also referred to a "moving statement" made on behalf of John Paul's friends, and a reference on behalf of the Springboard organisation that "attests to the excellent work and attitude" of the deceased.

"It is clear this young man's death was a sad loss to the community as a whole," he said.

Ferris-Farrelly admitted a charge of aggravated vehicle taking causing death, as well as failing to report an accident, driving with no insurance and driving with excess alcohol.

The collision occurred on the morning of June 22, after a house party that was held at Ferris-Farrelly's home while his parents were in Dublin.

At around 7am, someone suggested getting more alcohol, after which the defendant took his father's Peugeot, with John Paul in the back and a third man in the front seat.

After Ferris-Farrelly lost control on a bend, the front of the car smashed into a telegraph pole, causing the vehicle to spin and hit a kerb.

The front seat passenger was thrown into the back and John Paul was thrown from the car.

When Ferris-Farrelly and the front seat passenger realised their friend was dead, they fled.

The defendant went to the police later that afternoon.

His barrister described him as a "very inexperienced driver" at the time, and told the court that his client had misjudged the corner and lost control of the car with tragic consequences.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph