Family weeps over fatal car crash victim as driver jailed

Cattle dealer James Boyd was killed in a head-on collision

THE family of a man killed in a head on car crash wept in court as the driver was jailed for six months.

Mark Johnston (45), from Glen Rise in Belfast, was jailed after he pleaded guilty to causing the death of James Boyd on the Banbridge Road in Dromore, Co Down, on April 27 2014.

Mr Boyd (54), a cattle dealer and father of four from Drumaghadone Road in Dromore, Co Down, died at the scene when his Mercedes was involved in a head-on collision with Johnston's Vauxhall Insignia. Johnston's car had skidded into the wrong lane.

Prosecuting QC Jackie Orr told Newry Crown Court that despite the 20 mph speed limit, Johnston's car had been travelling between 28 to 37 mph.

Jailing Johnston and banning him from driving for five years, Judge Kevin Finnegan QC said he felt he had "no alternative but to impose an immediate custodial sentence." Johnston was jailed for six months with a further six on licence.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Boyd's ex-wife Elizabeth and three of his children, Mark, Laura and Julie, said they were "relieved" at the sentence because, "there's an element of justice to it."

"If we had left here today and the person drove up the road in front of us it would be very hard to deal with that but at least we know that tonight, he is behind bars and there's some justice," said Julie.

"I'm just so happy that he isn't walking away today - I don't think I could cope with that."

She added: "Daddy was a generous man and very funny man. He was the go-to person, he was the fixer in the family and he was constantly in contact, there wasn't a day went by that he wasn't on the phone."

Elizabeth said she wanted other drivers "to think about the long term implications of driving not only too fast, but being prepared to stop if necessary".

"This death was caused at under 40 miles per hour," she said.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access