Man jailed for dangerous driving causing the death of fiancee following Christmas party

Judge says he has to send out deterrent message about the dangers of drink driving


A man has been jailed for a year for dangerous driving causing the death of his fiancée, who was killed when he crashed into a ditch after drinking six pints while attending a Christmas party.

Pádraig McCarthy (37), Kinsale, Co Cork, pleaded guilty yesterday to dangerous driving causing the death of Valerie O’Donovan (32) at Ballineen on the Dunmanway-Bandon Road on December 23rd, 2012.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court imposed a three-year sentence but suspended the final two years on condition he be of good behaviour. He disqualified him from driving for 10 years.

The court heard McCarthy and Ms O’Donovan, who had been going out for seven years, had been attending a Christmas social with friends in Dunmanway on the night in question where McCarthy had six pints of lager.

They had had booked a taxi but when a taxi showed up, the driver told them that they were late and he took another fare, so McCarthy decided to drive his own car. He lost control, rounding a bend and struck a ditch and pole, killing Ms O’Donovan.

McCarthy took the stand yesterday to apologise to Ms O’Donovan’s daughter, Shannon (12) and her family. “I have lost the love of my life,” he said. “I have lost a dear friend. So much of my thoughts are with her daughter and her family.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin said he fully accepted McCarthy was genuinely remorseful and would have to live with the guilt of knowing that his actions had cost him his life companion but he had to be conscious of the need to send out a message deterring people from drink-driving

He noted that McCarthy had a blood alcohol concentration of 252mg per ml which was almost four times over the legal limit and he said that was an aggravating factor which led him to believe he had to impose a custodial sentence.