Northern Ireland

Belleek crash accused John Fahy denies knowing he caused toddler death

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

A former student has denied causing the crash that claimed the life of a toddler and knowing he was responsible.

John Fahy, 25, of Groagagh Grange, Sligo, denies careless driving causing the death of 19-month-old Ryan John Cox on 14 January 2013 and injuring his mother, Katriona.

The former University of Ulster student was giving evidence at a trial in Dungannon Crown Court on Tuesday.

The crash happened at Boa Island Road, Fermanagh, nearly three years ago.

His defence lawyer said Mr Fahy had suffered fractures and a brain injury in the crash.

This would have left him confused, both at the scene of the accident and in hospital.

Mr Fahy told the court that he had no previous convictions of any kind. He said he had been in his final year as a student at the time of the crash and could not do his finals. But he intends to go back.

On the day of the accident he was driving a car that was on loan from a local garage, but he said he had found nothing wrong with it.

Mr Fahy said he was returning to Belfast but was in "no hurry".

He remembered slowing down to about 45-50mph. Initially, he said he remembered seeing a car, flashing his lights and his car spinning and him ending up in hospital.

Later, he said: "I rounded the bend going towards Castle Caldwell ... I noticed a Peugeot apparently in my lane and I remember flashing my lights, and I remember I had nowhere to go ... I remember someone asking me about my phone, but I remember nothing after that".

Under cross-examination by a prosecution lawyer, Mr Fahy said he "wasn't looking at the speedo". He said when he talked to police, he was "giving them a general ballpark figure", of his speed at the time.

He denied this was "just a pure guess".

Mr Fahy repeated that he could not recall the point of impact, but that he did remember "someone being in my lane".

The prosecution argued that if the accident had happened on Mr Fahy's side of the road, then the debris field should have been in and around that area. Pointing to police photographs of the scene, the lawyer asked why the vast amount of the wreckage was in Mrs Cox's carriageway.

The prosecution suggested that there was a "very simple explanation" for the accident.

He told Mr Fahy that "either through inexperience or over steering, you lost control of your car and crashed into the other car.

"And you know how this accident happened".

The student rejected and refuted knowing how the accident had happened and that he knew he was responsible for it.

"That's not true," Mr Fahy replied.

The jury of six men and six women is due to hear final submissions on Wednesday.

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