Limerick man jailed for knocking down pensioners

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Michael Sheehan was sentenced to a total of eight years imprisonment
A MOYROSS man who ploughed into three pensioners during a high-speed chase - resulting in one of them losing his leg - has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

A MOYROSS man who ploughed into three pensioners during a high-speed chase - resulting in one of them losing his leg - has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

Earlier this year, Michael Sheehan, aged 27, of Cliona Park pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to Eric Ryan (80) and Liam Barry (77) in Parteen on September 25, last.

Sheehan, who told gardai he had drank eight cans of cider and a naggin of vodka prior to the crash, has also admitted refusing to give a sample of his breath following his arrest.

During a sentencing hearing, Limerick Circuit Court heard a Hyundai Accent car was being pursued by gardai at around 5pm after it was observed leaving the scene of a burglary in Clonlara.

Witnesses described how Sheehan, who was in the car with another man, sped up as he approached a bend near Browne’s Bar and that he lost control of the vehicle which shunted and slid across the road hitting Mr Ryan, Mr Barry and their friend Dermot O’Brien who has since died. All three were getting into their car to return home having played a game of pitch and putt.

Mr Ryan was pinned between two cars and had his left leg amputated as a result of the crash. His pelvis was also crushed and his right shoulder badly injured.

Liam Barry, a retired garda, suffered a serious head injury but has since made a good recovery.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Ryan said his life has changed dramatically as a result of Sheehan’s “reckless, out of control and selfish” actions.

“I have gone from being a 100% independent man and a carer of my wife and my home, to a completely dependent person who can barely manage the simple everyday things in life that most of us take for granted,” he said.

Imposing sentence this afternoon, Judge Tom O’Donnell noted garda evidence that Sheehan, who has more than 50 previous convictions, is “effectively a full time criminal”.

He said an aggravating factor was the “appalling dangerous driving and reckless driving” on the day and the fact that Sheehan had been released on bail just three days earlier.

He noted the defendant has a difficult family background and that he is taking steps in prison to address his drug addiction problems.

He said it is not the job of the courts to seek retribution and that any sentence must be “balanced and proportionate”.

He imposed a five year sentence which he ordered be served consecutively to a three year sentence was imposed in relation to a burglary offence at Aherina, Kilmore on May 8, 2014.

The sentences were backdated to the date of that offence.