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06 Jul 2022

Two years in jail for the learner driver who was texting before teenage girl was killed in midlands crash

Two years in jail for Offaly learner driver who was texting before fatal crash

Sentence was imposed at Tullamore Circuit Court

A learner driver who was texting when his jeep collided with a 14-year-old girl in Co Offaly, killing her on the road, has been jailed for two years.

Eric Dunne, Bellair, Ballycumber, was visibly shaken when Judge Keenan Johnson delivered the sentence at Tullamore Circuit Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Johnson sentenced the 26-year-old to three years and six months in prison but suspended the final year-and-a-half for five years on the man's entry of a peace bond and on condition he engages with the probation service.

Mr Dunne, who previously had an unblemished record, was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.

The court heard he suffered from anxiety and had failed his driving test three times.

He was driving a Hyundai Santa Fe jeep unaccompanied at Erry, Clara on the date of the accident, March 20, 2020.

The court gave permission for the name of the deceased, Aoife Doyle, to be published, along with her best friend Cara Cronly, also 14, who was walking with her at the time.

The girls had gone to photograph the sunset on the Clara-Ballycumber road and Cara Cronly had the torch of her mobile phone on as they walked along after 6pm.

A victim impact statement from Ms Cronly said she missed her best friend every day and she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the accident.

Judge Johnson recommended the use of apps on phones which allow the devices to send a message to callers saying the person being contacted is driving.


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