Northern Ireland drunk driver receives jail sentence for fatal crash

A man from Northern Ireland who was almost two and a half times the legal drink-drive limit when he was involved in a fatal crash has been jailed for 2 years and 6 months.

Paul Nicholl, aged 50 from Newtownstewart, had taken diazepam and had been drinking beer before a road traffic collision near Sion Mills in County Tyrone in January 2014. Patrick McCroary, aged 62, was travelling in the other vehicle involved in the crash, with his wife and children. Mr McCroary did not survive the collision and his family suffered injuries.

Mr Nicholl pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving with excess alcohol and causing grievous bodily harm. Sentencing him to 2 years and 6 months in prison, the judge said he took into account the early guilty plea, remorse, and clear driving record, but said he "cannot overlook the very high reading almost two and a half times the legal limit".

After his jail term Mr Nicholl will also serve 2 years and 6 months on licence and will be disqualified from driving for 6 years.

There have been 19 fatalities as a result of road traffic accidents in Northern Ireland so far this year, down from 24 at the same point in both 2014 and 2015, but still giving cause for serious concerns about road safety in Northern Ireland. Of those who have died, 7 were drivers, 6 were passengers in a car, 4 were pedestrians, 1 was a motorcyclist and 1 was a pedal cyclist.