Northern Ireland news

Sentenced for causing death of cyclist delayed after defendant taken to hospital

Aidan Fitzpatrick was a father-of-five

A COURT case involving a pensioner due to be sentenced for causing the death of a cyclist did not proceed on Friday as the defendant is in hospital.

Arthur Robert Macgrillen was due to appear at Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, for causing the death by dangerous driving of Aidan Fitzpatrick (59).

However, the case was adjourned as the 74-year old was admitted to the Ulster Hospital on Thursday.

Macgrillen admitted charges of causing both the death of Mr Fitzpatrick by dangerous driving, and causing grievous bodily injury to a second cyclist, Ralph Mills.

The fatal collision occurred on the afternoon of Sunday October 20, 2019 on the Killyleagh Road in Downpatrick.

Mr Fitzpatrick - a father-of-five from south Belfast - was a member of La Lanterne Rouge Cycling Club and was on a club spin when he was struck by a car.

Macgrillen, from Catherine Street in Killyleagh, initially denied the charges but after changing his plea, he was due to be sentenced.

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC yesterday expressed frustration, noting that proceedings in the case began in October 2019.

"It is a matter of grave concern to me that for the 17th occasion the family have been in attendance, some of whom have travelled considerable distances, in the expectation that matters would reach a conclusion," he said.

"Once more, having built themselves up to that expectation, it appear that those expectations are going to be dashed."

He added that whilst he accepted Macgrillen had been admitted to hospital due to falls associated with his frailty, he required a more detailed report from medics - and expressed hope that sentencing could proceed in or around September 7.

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