Northern Ireland news

Drink-driver who denied knowing girlfriend he left with life changing injuries is jailed for four years

Conor McSorley was jailed for four years

A DRINK driver who crashed his car leaving his then girlfriend permanently brain damaged and in need of round-the-clock care, has been jailed for four years.

Conor McSorley (20) from Rathbeg Crescent in Limavady had a total of 58 previous criminal convictions, nine of them for road traffic offences.

He pleaded guilty at Derry Crown Court to causing grievous bodily injury to his then girlfriend by careless driving while drunk, and guilty to driving while disqualified and without a licence.

He committed the offences on the night of December 20 2017, the day after the victim's birthday and the day after he had bought the car for £200.

McSorley lost control of the car while driving along the Maydown dual carriage way from Derry in the direction of Eglinton.

Two women who stopped at the scene alerted the emergency services. They spoke to McSorley who denied being the driver and who told them he was out for a walk when he saw the car crash off the road.

Together with another civilian at the scene the two women gave assistance to the victim as she lay slumped in the car.

When the police arrived they were anxious to establish the identity of the victim, who had to be cut from the car, but McSorley denied knowing her.

Judge Philip Babington said the victim sustained life changing injuries as a result of significant brain damage sustained in the accident.

He said from the victim impact report in which her mother described her daughter as a "fun loving and active girl prior to this accident but now requires someone to be with her all the time".

"She has now been described as childlike in her ways. She has to use a walking aid," judge Babington said.

Highlighting the dangers of drink-driving the judge said McSorley had committed "a serious error of judgment".

"His conduct at the scene when he lied to civilians and police alike as to why he had come to be there was unacceptable and did him no credit.

"The police wanted to contact the injured party's family and his behaviour only delayed that process", the judge said.

As well as jailing McSorley for four years, Judge Babington also disqualified him from driving for five years.

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