School bus death driver spared prison

Image caption, Nicola Murray, who was a twin, died in the crash

The driver of the lorry which hit a school bus, killing a teenage girl, has been spared a prison sentence.

The judge said he would not impose a custodial sentence because of pleas for leniency from the parents of the girl.

Nicola Murray, 16, died in the accident near Cabragh, County Tyrone, in February 2008.

Damien McGivern, 46, of Ardmore Park, Hilltown, County Down, pleaded guilty to causing the death of the teenager on the opening day of his trial in June.

Mr McGivern also admitted causing serious injury to two other girls.

Nicola's father, Jim, said he was "pleased" with the outcome.

"We have had quite a bit of support from the McGivern family from the day of the accident, right through," he said.

"He was able to go home today with his family and get his life back on track

"It would not have benefited our family for him to spend some time in jail.

"He didn't set out to cause death or injury."

Mr McGivern's barrister said he was "speechless and overwhelmed" by the "remarkable display of Christian understanding and forgiveness" by the Murray family.

In June, the court was told that this was an unusual case in which a member of the victim's family had written letters to the accused, expressing empathy if not sympathy.

Nicola - who had a twin sister, Natasha - was a pupil at St Ciaran's High School in Ballygawley.

The crash happened as the school bus turned into St Mary's Primary School in Cabragh at about 0830 GMT on Wednesday 27 February 2008.

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