Northern Ireland

Francis McCafferty jailed for killing brother in hit-and-run

Francis McCafferty
Image caption Francis McCafferty was jailed for six months at Dungannon Crown Court

A man who killed his brother in a hit-and-run in County Fermanagh five years ago laughed at his nieces as he was jailed for six months.

Pat McCafferty, who was 49, died after he was hit by a car on the Tullychurry Road near Belleek in January 2014.

The driver was his younger brother Francis McCafferty, from Laghey in County Donegal.

He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and driving while disqualified and uninsured.

Three of Pat McCafferty's daughters were in court to see their 45-year-old uncle handed a 12-month sentence, half of which is to be served in prison and half on licence.

He was also banned from driving for five years.

Image copyright McCafferty family
Image caption Pat McCafferty was killed by his brother in a hit-and-run in 2014

As he was led from the dock at Dungannon Crown Court, Francis McCafferty banged on a glass panel beside where his nieces were sitting, muttered and laughed at them.

Speaking to BBC News NI outside the court, two of the victim's daughters said their uncle had never shown any remorse.

Tina McCafferty said: "It's just disgusting that after five years, we have to go through that [laughing] at the end of a court case where there's no justice for any of us.

"There's no words for what pain he's caused us," she added.

"Maybe if he would have admitted to what he did and maybe apologise, it would have eased some of it.

Image caption Sisters Fiona, left, and Tina McCafferty were laughed at by their uncle as he was jailed for killing their father

"It just seems he didn't care about him the way we care, but it's us that are left without a father now."

Another daughter, Fiona McCafferty, said her father was a big part of all of their lives and that they feel saddened that he will not see his grandchildren grow up.

"He gets to walk away in six months time and live the rest of his life whatever way he wants to.

"I think it's had a huge impact on all of our family."

Argument

A prosecution lawyer said that on the night of the incident, the two brothers had been travelling together in Francis McCafferty's car with two other people.

He said there had been a row between the two brothers when Pat was being left off.

Image caption McCafferty killed his brother in a hit-and-run in 2014

The defendant then drove his car into an area where he would have known Pat and other pedestrians were present.

He was travelling at 40mph or less, but the road was dark and unlit and the victim was wearing dark clothes.

Pat McCafferty was struck while standing in the middle of the road.

Denial

Francis McCafferty fled the scene, but gardaĆ­ (Irish police) located the car believed to be involved close to his home and arrested him on suspicion of murder.

He initially denied being involved, telling gardaĆ­: "I didn't hit him. I didn't do it. I wasn't driving the car."

Two days later, he gave a statement in which he admitted being the driver, but claimed it was an accident.

He said he had been driving at 30mph when "he [Pat] ran straight out. I just hit him. I didn't think anything was wrong".

He was arrested by the PSNI in 2018 and made denials and no comment replies during the course of six interviews.

"Despite the impact, the defendant did not stop, he left the scene and subsequently engaged in a charade as to what had happened to the vehicle," the prosecution lawyer said.

"His grossly irresponsible behaviour in leaving the scene and the charade in which he engaged in relation to the vehicle are aggravating features."

'Highly intoxicated'

The court also heard he had previous driving convictions and was disqualified at the time.

A defence lawyer said it was their case that Pat McCafferty "ran out, stepped out into the road, into his path".

He said the deceased had been "highly intoxicated and taking sleeping tablets" and was therefore "more likely to do something of such a rash nature".

He said that following the altercation with the driver, he stood in the road in an attempt to stop the vehicle.

He said his client's denials of being involved "were not to his credit", but that the judge should give him credit for his guilty plea "in the unusual circumstances of the case".

"Realising the enormity of what happened and the fact that it was his brother, he found it impossible to accept," the defence lawyer said.

He added that there was a divide in the family which made it difficult for him to express his remorse, but the lawyer said "he does feel extremely saddened and remorseful".