Northern Ireland news

Pair admit to causing the death of Warrenpoint man Karl Heaney by careless driving

Karl Heaney died in the car crash on the A1 between Banbridge and Dromore

A WOMAN who campaigned for an upgrade to the A1 carriageway after her son was tragically killed was in court today as two drivers admitted causing his death.

Donald Hughes (35) and 33-year-old Shelagh McMahon were due to go on trial at Newry Crown Court but a second count was added to the indictment and defence QCs Frank O’Donoghue and Greg Berry asked for that to be put to their clients.

With the parents and family of Karl Heaney sitting in the public gallery Hughes, a soldier stationed at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn and McMahon, from Ardcollum Avenue in Dublin, confessed to causing the death of the 27-year-old by driving carelessly on the A1 dual carriageway Drumneth on May 23 2018.

Following their admissions, prosecuting QC Samuel Magee asked Judge Paul Ramsey QC to “leave on the books” the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Heaney (27), from Warrenpoint, was travelling home from training with Newry Mitchels GAC when he died in a two-vehicle collision between Banbridge and Dromore at around 11.30pm.

He was driving a silver Ford Fusion car which was in a collision with a black Kia Ceed, driven by Hughes, close to the junction of the Halfway Road while McMahon was behind the wheel of a Kia Rio.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Mr Heaney’s mother Monica spearheaded a campaign and petition for the road to be upgraded.

Judge Ramsey adjourned passing sentence and released the pair on bail until April 22 ahead of victim impact and pre-sentence probation reports.

Although he also disqualified both defendants from driving, he stayed the imposition of that order for 24 hours to allow time for the killer drivers to get themselves home.

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