Killer driver Duffy wins appeal over jailing
A man who killed two women in a road crash in Co Mayo 12 years ago and was handed a jail sentence last week for a hit-and-run has avoided prison after an appeal hearing.
Paul Patrick Duffy (37), of Hillside Drive in Dunloy, had been given a four-month custodial term at Coleraine Magistrates Court after the collision in Co Antrim on September 4.
District Judge Liam McNally told him he could have killed either himself or someone else.
Having been drinking, Duffy was on the wrong side of a road without lights at midnight and hit another vehicle.
The father-of-four was also handed a two-year driving ban and a £100 fine, but was released pending an appeal. He accepted his conviction but challenged his sentence.
At an appeal hearing at Antrim County Court yesterday, the jail term was scrapped and instead Duffy was given probation for a year.
After considering a pre-sentence report, Judge Desmond Marrinan said he was of the opinion that supervision of the defendant was desirable for securing his rehabilitation.
The driving ban remains in place and Duffy will have to pass an extended driving test if he wishes to get back on the road. The £100 fine was removed.
Coleraine Magistrates Court had heard that after hitting another vehicle in Dunloy, Duffy tried to flee but was followed by the other motorist. He crashed and when police arrived they tried, but failed, to get a breath sample from him at the scene on five occasions. He also failed to give a sample at a police station.
In 2005 Duffy, who had an address in Westport, Co Mayo, at the time, was an unaccompanied learner driver when he killed a mother-of-eight and her aunt while overtaking on the N5 near Castlebar.
In 2006 he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the deaths of Marian Maye (48) from Kilkelly in Mayo and 77-year-old aunt Kathleen Fitzpatrick.
He was given a suspended jail term and banned from the roads for 10 years.
The court in Mayo heard he was on his way to Westport when the collision occurred and he had no recollection of what had happened due to the injuries he had received.