A woman has told how she visited the grave of her husband, who was killed by a man driving dangerously, before giving birth to the couple’s third child.
Mags Mulhall was giving a victim impact statement as a man pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of her husband John "Rustard" McLaughlin at Strandhead, Malin on the evening of February 20th, 2017.
Aaron McColgan (25) had visited a number of pubs before he crashed into 38-year-old Mr MacLaughlin just after 6pm killing him instantly, Letterkenny Circuit Court heard.
Mr McLaughlin, an accountant, had been on his way to train the under-16 GAA team at Malin GAA Club where he was a lifelong member.
McColgan, of Culkeeny, Malin, left the scene of the crash and was spotted by gardaí nearby and arrested.
He failed a roadside breath test and was found to be over the limit when both a breath and urine sample were taken at Buncrana Garda station.
Garda forensic examiners found that McColgan's Audi A4 car, which he had bought in Northern Ireland just weeks before, was driving on the wrong side of a continuous white line.
Garda Gerard McCauley in evidence said the road was governed by an 80kph speed limit but they could not tell how fast the cars were travelling, but the Audi car was travelling much faster than Mr McLaughlin’s Kia Rio.
Such was the impact that McColgan’s car travelled 65 metres while Mr McLaughlin’s car was thrown backwards and hit a tree.
Passers-by rushed to try to help Mr McLaughlin but despite a faint pulse and some small breaths, he died a short time later.
Mr McLaughlin’s sister Sue gave a victim impact statement on behalf of his parents Noel and Rosaleen and extended family.
She told how John McLaughlin was the most obliging of people whose loss was immeasurable.
She told of his love of the GAA and climbing mountains and hills and how, despite moving away from home when he got married, he would always return to help out on the family farm.
She added of her parents’ pain: “No parent should have to bury a child and we have to live with that pain every day.”
Mr McLaughlin’s widow Mags spoke of the grief and unimaginable circumstances of having to give birth alone to the couple’s third child.
She spoke of how her husband was simply a “good citizen” who helped anyone he could.
She told of going to visit his graveside before the birth of their third child when he should have been in the hospital with her.
She said she has no answers for her children when they ask her if their daddy is still working in heaven, can they go to visit daddy in heaven, why can’t daddy wake up and why did daddy crash?
She said that as a single parent now making all the parental decisions is not easy adding “Helping to make father’s day cards to place on his grave was not supposed to be part of our adventure. The children long for their daddy every day, nobody else can ever be their daddy, they had so little time with him. If only Aaron McColgan had behaved differently.
“Nobody has the same unconditional love as you have for your husband. I miss his company, his intimacy and affection. I miss his honesty and integrity. You could trust him with your life.”
She added that the three years it has taken for the case to come before the court has drained both her body and soul.
The court was told that McColgan has a number of previous convictions including intoxication, drunk while in charge of a vehicle, obstruction of a police officer, threatening and abusive behaviour and having no insurance.
Barrister for McColgan, Damien Colgan said his client has expressed his remorse and has not come to Garda attention since the incident in 2017.
Judge John Aylmer said he would need time to consider the sentence and adjourned the case until later in the week.