Limerick man jailed over schoolgirl’s death

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

A WEST Limerick man who crashed while performing handbrake turns - resulting in the death of a 15-year-old schoolgirl has been sentenced to three years imprisonment.

A WEST Limerick man who crashed while performing handbrake turns - resulting in the death of a 15-year-old schoolgirl has been sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Peter Brouder, aged 23, of Castleview Estate, Strand, Newcastle West pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Amy St John on July 10, 2010.

The Junior Cert student who was from Woodfield, Newcastle West, died at the Mid Western Regional Hospital two days after she was critically injured in the head-on collision which happened at Culhane’s Cross near the village of Feoghanagh.

During a sentencing hearing this afternoon, Limerick Circuit Court heard Brouder was driving a 00-registered Honda Civic which was in collision with another car - being driven by a couple in their 50s - at around 9.30pm.

Garda Joe Collins said following his arrest, the defendant admitted he had lost control of his car as he was performing a handbrake turn to “show off”.

The court heard the Honda Civic had clipped a ditch and had rolled a number of times before colliding with the oncoming Toyota Corolla.

Amy, who was a back seat passenger in the Honda Civic, sustained critical injuries in the impact and subsequently died.

In a victim impact statement, her family said she had been full of fun and was a “beautiful kind and caring child who always had a smile on her face”.

Imposing sentence, Judge Carroll Moran said it was a particularly difficult case but he said nothing he could say would bring amy back.

While noting that alcohol was not a factor in the case, the judge said Brouder was driving recklessly and considerably above the speed limit.

“A motor car can be a lethal weapon if not managed properly that can cause catastrophic damage like a gun can,” he said as he imposed a three year prison sentence.

Brouder was also disqualified from driving for 20 years.