Driver sentenced to 8 months for crash which left girlfriend in a wheelchair
A Hungarian man who left his teenage girlfriend a wheelchair bound paraplegic when he crashed his car has been jailed for eight months.
However, 28-year-old Beres Szaboles will soon be free because he has already served the equivalent of his sentence while on remand.
Also imposing a five year driving ban, Judge Piers Grant paid tribute to the courage and determination of Szaboles' then girlfriend Anastasia Kravstova who sustained horrific injuries.
The Newtownards Crown Court judge said it was clear from the reports before him that the 19-year-old is “a remarkable, stoic and courageous young woman who does everything to live with her disability and to make the best of her clearly very difficult life and she is to be commended for that".
On the morning his trial was due to start last month, Szaboles, with an address at Hillfoot Crescent in Ballynahinch, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily injury by driving carelessly on the Magheraknock Road in the town in March 2015.
Szaboles initially fled Northern Ireland but was detained in Copenhagen on February 12 under a European Arrest Warrant obtained by the PSNI.
The court heard Ms Kravstova was the front seat passenger in Szaboles’ car when he lost control.
The car swerved as Szaboles tried to regain control but it hit the verge causing it to flip into a field where he ended up on its roof on top of a chicken coop.
While Szaboles told police he had been travelling at 55mph in the 60 zone, the court heard that according to the expert who examined the scene he was driving at around 43mph when he lost control.
He said Szaboles has expressed “real remorse,” was deserving of “full credit” for pleading guilty and for his almost clear criminal record.
The judge revealed that Szaboles, who holds dual Hungarian and Romanian nationality, has a previous conviction for the “attempted homicide” of his own father.
In 2008, a court in Budapest handed Szaboles an 18-month prison sentence but suspended it for four years.
Judge Grant told the court that Szaboles had been protecting his daughter from her grandfather who had “flown into an alcohol fuelled rage”.
He added that Szaboles' driving offence should serve as a warning to road users.
“It is important to appreciate that it’s not sufficient to drive at the limit of a speed restriction but it’s vital that everyone who drives a vehicle does so within the limits of the prevailing conditions at the time and one’s own abilities to manoeuvre a car in such a way that it’s safe,” he said.