Northern Ireland

Londonderry drink driver sentenced to five years

The case was heard at Londonderry Crown Court
Image caption The case was heard at Londonderry Crown Court

A driver who crashed a car injuring his five passengers, has been sentenced to five years and six months in prison.

Gavin Quigley, 36, was also banned by Londonderry Crown Court from driving for five years.

Quigley, of Rossnagalliagh in the city, pleaded guilty to drink driving, dangerous driving and driving without insurance on 29 January in 2011.

Judge Babington said Quigley had terrified his passengers and they "were lucky to be alive".

He said Quigley had ignored repeated requests by his passengers to slow down before his car careered into the left and right side crash barriers on the Foyle bridge.

'Broken neck bone'

A woman passenger suffered a permanent three-centimetre shortening of her left leg as a result of her injuries.

Another woman who was thrown from the car sustained third degree burns and a third woman suffered a broken neck bone.

The casualties were all passengers in a Mercedes C180 driven by Quigley.

Quigley already had 86 previous criminal convictions, 33 of them for road traffic offences, including four for dangerous driving, six for drink driving and nine for driving without insurance.

The six people had earlier been at a drinks party and were on the way to another party in Strathfoyle when the crash occurred in the early hours of the morning.

Quigley told the police that the car started to experience mechanical problems as he drove onto the bridge, causing the vehicle to swerve from side to side.

The judge, however, said there was no evidence to support that claim.