Northern Ireland

Lesley-Ann McCarragher: Man jailed over jogger's death

Leslie Ann McCarragher Image copyright McCarragher family
Image caption Lesley-Ann McCarragher was jogging along the Monaghan Road when she was struck by a vehicle

A man has been jailed for nine years for killing County Armagh teenager Lesley-Ann McCarragher in April 2016.

Miss McCarragher, 19, was jogging along the Monaghan Road when she was struck by a car which did not stop.

Despite being airlifted to hospital the 19-year-old student died from her injuries.

Nathan Finn, 19, of Keady Road in Armagh, admitted causing her death by dangerous driving in January.

Miss McCarragher was a former head girl at the City of Armagh High School.

Judge Gordon Kerr said what happened to the her was "pure tragedy".

Finn initially denied all charges against him, but later accepted causing death by dangerous driving and causing death whilst driving without a licence or insurance.

He also admitted failing to stop and remain at the scene of a collision, or report it to police.

'Chose to flee the scene'

The driver of another car was also prosecuted.

Damien Paul McCann, 30, of Lagan Road, Keady, was originally charged with causing Miss McCarragher's death by dangerous driving, which he denied.

He later pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Miss McCarragher's family attended Thursday's sentence hearing.

Image copyright CITY OF ARMAGH HIGH SCHOOL

In a statement, they said "a light has gone out in all of our lives" since Miss McCarragher's death.

"Finn chose to get behind the wheel of a car he had only taken possession of the previous day," the statement said.

"He chose to drive it dangerously, without a licence or insurance, on a public road at high speed.

"He chose to become involved in a race through the streets of Armagh with McCann. He chose to mount the hard shoulder to undertake the car.

"He struck Lesley-Ann, throwing her into the middle of the road, and chose to leave her to die. He chose to flee the scene, without even a flicker of care or compassion."

'Panicked'

The court heard that an eyewitness saw two cars in an apparent race shortly before the crash.

The court was told that Finn's white Saab car hit the teenager as she was running on the hard shoulder of the road.

Eyewitnesses said the car had been under-taking another vehicle and appeared to be out of control.

Finn initially denied any involvement in the crash and tried to hide the car, but he later changed his story.

His defence lawyer told the court he was 17 years old at the time of the offences and that he "panicked" after what happened.

'No direct link'

The lawyer admitted Finn told initially lies but said the court should take into consideration his age at the time and the fact that he did ultimately plead guilty.

The judge was told Finn had shown remorse, and had suffered mental health problems in the wake of the crash.

A defence lawyer for McCann expressed condolences to the family of the victim.

The court was told there was no direct link between him and the death of the 19-year-old woman. However, he admitted being involved in dangerous driving shortly before the crash.

The judge banned him from driving for two years and fined him £500.

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