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Student denies causing crash that killed Fermanagh toddler - The Irish News
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Northern Ireland news

Student denies causing crash that killed Fermanagh toddler

 Clockwise from left: Baby Ryan Cox, the car in which he died and John Fahy (25) who denies causing the crash

AN architecture student has denied causing the fatal crash which claimed the life of a 19-month-old toddler and injured the child's mother almost three years ago.

The former University of Ulster student, John Michael Fahy, from Groagagh Grange in Sligo, was giving evidence at his Dungannon Crown Court trial for causing the death of Ryan John Cox and injuring his mother Katriona, by careless driving on Boa Island Road, Co Fermanagh on January 14, 2013.

Mr Fahy (25) said he remembered rounding a bend, seeing another car "apparently" in his lane, flashing his lights, having nowhere to go, then his car spinning out of control and waking in hospital.

Prosecution barrister LiamMcCollum QC suggested that there was a "very simple explanation" for the collision - that "either through inexperience or over-steering you lost control of your car and crashed into the other car".

The court was read a statement from an A & E consultant, who reported Mr Fahy had received "substantial and significant injuries" in the accident, including a brain injury which would have left him confused while in hospital and also at the scene.

Mr Fahy, who has no previous convictions, told the court that on the day of the accident it had earlier been raining and was overcast as he was driving back to Belfast in a Renault Megane, loaned by his local garage.

He had found nothing wrong with the vehicle and was in "no hurry", with an uneventful journey until his approach to Castle Caldwell forest, when he remembered slowing to about 45-50mph.

"I rounded the bend going towards Castle Caldwell... I noticed a Peugeot apparently in my lane and I remember flashing my lights, and I remember I had nowhere to go.... I remember someone asking me about my phone, but I remember nothing after that," he said.

Under cross-examination, Mr Fahy said he "wasn't logging my speed" and gave police "a general ballpark figure", but denied it was "just a pure guess".

Mr Fahy rejected a prosecution suggestion that crashing into the oncoming vehicle was better than attempting to drive up a grass verge or hitting an embankment.

"No I am not saying that. It all happened so quick... I didn't have time... to react... it was a split second... that's all I remember."

He added he also heard a "loud banging", agreeing he never mentioned this before, but saying he did not think "it relevant" because with any car crash there were "going to be a lot of loud bangs".

Mr McCollum said if the accident occurred on his side of the roadway the debris should have been in and around that area, pointing to police photographs which he said showed the vast amount of the wreckage was in Mrs Cox's lane.

The student said he could not recall the point of impact, but remembered "someone being in my lane".

The jury will hear final submissions before being asked to retire and consider their verdicts.

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