Northern Ireland

Belleek crash accused John Fahy lost control of car, expert believes

Ryan Cox Image copyright Ex BBC Newsline
Image caption Ryan Cox died aged 19 months and his mother was seriously injured in the County Fermanagh crash in 2013.

A forensic expert has told the trial of a man accused of causing the death of a toddler in a crash that he believes the accused had lost control of his car.

John Fahy, 25, from County Sligo denies careless driving causing the death of 19-month-old Ryan John Cox on 14 January 2013.

The crash happened on the Boa Island Road in County Fermanagh.

The prosecution ended its case against the former Ulster University student on Monday.

Forensic expert Damien Cowl told the court he carried out a reconstruction of the accident scene which he got police to photograph after he had "repositioned the vehicles" at what he termed "the maximum area of engagement".

The photographs showed the alleged moment of impact, with the toddler's mother Katriona's Peugeot 307 car in her own lane, while the passenger side of the Renault Megane driven by Mr Fahy is embedded at an angle in the front driver's side of Mrs Cox's car.

Mr Cowl said both vehicles had been travelling about the same speed, between 52 and 54mph and it was his "opinion" that as the driver of the Megane "attempted to negotiate the left hand bend he commenced to lose control of the car".

"Ultimately," he said, while Mr Fahy steered his car to the right it began to veer across into the lane of Mrs Cox's car, where the front of both cars "impacted".

The scientist said that his findings were based on the damage to both vehicles, the gouge marks on the roadway left by the anti-roll bar of the Peugeot, and the spread of debris found around the scene of the accident.

Mrs Cox, in her statement to police, which was read to the court, said she had "very little recollection of the whole day".

'In no hurry'

Later the court heard police interviews with Mr Fahy about what happened on his journey from his home at Groagagh, Grange, in County Sligo, in a borrowed car to his student digs in Belfast, a journey he made nearly every week.

Image caption John Fahy denies careless driving causing the death of the toddler

He told officers that he was "in no hurry" and remembered slowing from 60mph to between 45 to 50mph, with "the engine braking around the corner, that's when the incident happened".

He said the last thing he remembered was "being in my own lane. I remember the car spinning and just the corner of my car, I remember seeing her car and then going, her going to correct, to get back into her lane, that's what I remember."

Asked by an officer was he saying that her Mrs Cox's vehicle was on the wrong side of the road, the student replied: "Yes."

When asked again, was he saying the Peugeot was in his lane, he said: "Am yes", and when put to him was he "adamant", about this, Mr Fahy said he recalled looking at the 307 coming towards him and "seeing there was nowhere for me to go".

It is expected that Mr Fahy's lawyers will open their defence case on Tuesday.

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