09 Aug 2022

Man sentenced over accident causing death of Offaly student

Man sentenced over accident causing death of Offaly student

Man sentenced over accident causing death of Offaly student

AN Athlone man has been handed down a two and a half year suspended sentence at Mullingar Circuit Court after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Tullamore student Jordan Murphy.

John O’Shea (66) of Ballyduff, Ballinahown, Athlone, was also suspended from driving for a period of 10 years. 

In addition, he will within six months have to pay the sum of 10,000 euro towards a nominated charity for the 2021 Jordan Murphy Memorial Fundraiser.

19-year-old Jordan Murphy, a second-year student at Athlone IT died on September 11, 2018, after being hit by a Ford Transit van driven by John O'Shea.

Mr O'Shea pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death on Tuesday, December 1.

A witness at the scene said Mr O'Shea had driven through a red light.

The accident was witnessed by Trawa Radoslaw who was driving a lorry which had stopped at the lights and was heading in the opposite direction to the accused. 

Judge Keenan Johnson said Mr Radoslaw gave a very clear statement to Gardai in which he indicated that he saw Jordan Murphy do everything correctly before he proceeded to step onto the pedestrian crossing. That fact was borne out by CCTV footage of the incident.

At a previous court sitting on Friday, December 4, 2020, victim impact statements from Jordan Murphy’s parents Siobhain and Alan were read.

They spoke of their devastation at the loss of their beloved son and the anguish and heartache that his premature death visited upon them. 

"It is every parent’s worst nightmare to bury their child," said Judge Keenan Johnson.

The judge said it is clear that Jordan was a "well respected and popular young man who was very much loved and admired by his parents, his girlfriend Aoife, his siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts and his many friends. He also noted that Aoife had come on the scene of the accident that morning which he said ‘’must have been a horrific experience for her."

He noted that Jordan acted as a leader for first-year students and to their credit, his family and friends have established a yearly memorial fundraiser in his name. In 2019, they raised €5,700 for the Institute of Technology and an amazing €12,000 in Jordan’s memory for Accessible Counselling Tullamore.

In sentencing Judge Keenan Johnson said he ‘’ appreciated the accident on the 11 September 2018 which resulted in the tragic and untimely death of Jordan Murphy caused devastation not only to Jordan’s family but also to the accused and his family. 

"In structuring the sentence that I have imposed I have endeavoured to reflect the gravity of the  offence while at the same time ensuring that the memory of Jordan is honoured in as appropriate and fitting way with the monies raised in his memory being applied towards some worthy and charitable cause."

The judge said he was satisfied that the imposition of an immediate custodial sentence would not serve the interests of justice and would not be a fitting tribute to Jordan’s memory. 

He said he also appreciated the criminal process had been difficult for the Murphy family. He said the "process takes time, but it is important that the process is undertaken in a diligent, fair, professional and forensic manner. The requirement for such care is to ensure that no injustice is perpetrated on either of the parties."

Finally, he said he was delighted to note that there was new life coming to the Murphy household and "I know that this will be a source of boundless joy," he added.

Afterwards, Alan Murphy, father of Jordan, thanked Judge Keenan Johnson for "his fair sentencing today." He also thanked Garda Sean Bohan and state solicitor Peter Jones. "As a family, we would like to thank the support of our friends and the community at this tragic time for all of us." 

"Jordan will always be remembered, we will make sure of that," he said.

"It was a fair sentence and it proves Jordan’s complete innocence. Mr O’Shea finally admitted his guilt," concluded Mr Murphy.

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