Architect gets four years jail for causing road death

Tue, Oct 21, 1997, 01:00

An architect who drove a sports car while over the alcohol limit and killed a woman has been jailed for four years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The court heard Philip Sheedy became suicidal after the accident and ended his relationship with his girlfriend because he thought he was too bad a person to marry.

Sheedy (29), of Newtown Park, Leixlip, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, causing the death of Mrs Anne Ryan (36), a mother of two from Tymon Crescent, in Tallaght. The accident happened at the Glenview Roundabout in Tallaght on March 15th, 1996. Sheedy also admitted driving with excess alcohol.

Garda Ronan Waldron said Sheedy was not used to the car which he had bought 24 hours earlier. Witnesses later described his car taking off "like a missile" before it hit a roundabout and travelled 60 feet in the air before landing on another car killing Mrs Ryan.

Her husband, Mr John Ryan, told the court how the loss of his wife, whom he had known since she was 14, had affected both him and his children. Responding to an offer of a trust-fund for his children, he said he did not want any money from Sheedy or his family.

Judge Joseph Mathews said the case was "a tragedy of titanic proportions". Nothing he could say would ease the pain caused by Sheedy's act of recklessness.

Judge Mathews said this case had to be seen in the light of the 28 deaths on Irish roads in just 10 days. "In most cases the driving was excessive and aggravated by drink," he said.

A person using common sense would have taken more care when driving a new car. The sentence would reflect the urgency of addressing the carnage on the country's roads. He gave Sheedy leave to apply for a review of the sentence in two years.

Mr Sean Moylan SC, for Sheedy, had asked for the imposition of a suspended sentence.