Student who caused Oisín McGrath’s death avoids jail

Judge tells Francis McDermott his conviction is insignificant ‘next to McGrath family’s loss’


A student who as a schoolboy caused the death of 13-year-old Oisín McGrath was on Friday sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for three years.

Sentencing Francis McDermott at Dungannon Crown Court, Judge Stephen Fowler told the now 20-year-old engineering student that while his conviction might blight his life, it paled into insignificance compared with the loss suffered by the McGrath family.

The judge said he was also “acutely aware there is no sentence I can impose that could offer any comfort to Oisín’s family for their loss of such a bright, energetic and loving boy full of such potential”.

McDermott, of Camphill Park, Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, was a 17-year-old sixth-former at St Michael’s College in Enniskillen when he caused the unlawful death of fellow pupil Oisín, from Belcoo, who died in hospital from a head injury on February 12th, 2015.

Last week the court heard that the injury had resulted from a tussle over a football in the grounds of the school three days earlier.

Following the ruling, the PSNI said: “Our thoughts today go to the family of Oisín McGrath, who continue to mourn the loss of the young teenager.

“While the sentencing brings a close to the police investigation, it does not bring an end to the pain Oisín’s family and friends are suffering.

“They will now not see him finish his education or find a career, grow into a young man or know what his future may have held.”