A man whose dangerous driving resulted in the deaths of his teenage girlfriend and baby daughter fought back tears as he told a court how he wished he could take their place.
Christopher Hanlon (21), from Leitirmacaward, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the deaths of Kerry Ann Meehan (16), originally from Londonderry, and his three-month-old daughter Niesha at Tullygay near Letterkenny on June 18, 2008.
At Letterkenny Circuit Court yesterday, Judge John O'Hagan sentenced Hanlon to two years' imprisonment but substituted it for 240 hours of community service. He also disqualified him from driving for eight years.
The couple were returning to their home in Doochary when the back tyre blew out, causing their car to spin across the road into the path of an oncoming jeep.
In a statement to gardai later, he admitted he was aware of the worn tyres and had intended replacing them that week.
Hanlon said he had taken a chance and made a mistake, which he would regret for the rest of his life.
Judge O'Hagan said the driver was aware that his tyres were dodgy and had taken a chance. But he said that it was the only aggravating factor.