Man jailed for knocking down pedestrian and killing her

Monday 26 May 2014 21.09
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The judge described Frances McCarthy as an extraordinary woman
The judge described Frances McCarthy as an extraordinary woman
Philip Trimble drove a car across the Luas line and into a restricted area of Abbey Street before mounting the footpath
Philip Trimble drove a car across the Luas line and into a restricted area of Abbey Street before mounting the footpath

A 36-year-old drug addict who knocked down and killed a woman who was out shopping in Dublin city centre in January of last year has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Philip Trimble, from Oscar Traynor Road in Santry, drove a car across the Luas line and into a restricted area of Abbey Street before mounting the footpath and knocking down Frances McCarthy.

He also hit her sister Mary O’Connor and another pedestrian, carrying them along on the bonnet of the car

Judge Mary Ellen Ring described Mrs McCarthy, a midwife after whom the Coombe Hospital named a special clinic, as an extraordinary woman.

Trimble apologised to the family in court and wrote a letter to them re-emphasising his remorse and shame.

Trimble was arrested at the scene and initially told gardaí a car had come straight across in front of him and he had swerved to avoid it.

However, when he was shown CCTV footage, he accepted that there was no other car and said: "God forgive me, I was out of control altogether. It looks like I was in a world of my own."

Immediately after the accident he lit up a cigarette and seemed more concerned with fixing his bumper.

When witnesses remonstrated with him he shouted at them to "f--- off".

In a victim impact report read out on behalf of the victim's husband at a previous hearing, Denis McCarthy said his life as he had known it came to a sudden end when his wife of 27 years was killed by a car.

He said he brought his wife a cup of tea before leaving for work, and that when they spoke on the phone mid-morning the last thing she said was to ask him what he would like for dinner.

Her final text to him had been "What would I do without you?"

Mr McCarthy said his life without his wife, best friend and soul mate was "truly awful" and that he missed her constantly.

He spoke of the devastation and crushing loss felt by himself, his four children and by his wife's family, singling out her elderly mother.

"When I brought her mother to see her youngest child laid out, it was the hardest blow of all," he said.

Mr McCarthy said Frances was an "amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister-in-law and highly dedicated midwife" adding that her many patients and colleagues were also traumatised by her loss.

Mr McCarthy said his wife was 100% innocent and had simply been walking along the footpath.

"Anyone here today could easily have been walking on Abbey Street, but it was my wife who was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"She was only one of a kind, and the world is a poorer place without her," he concluded.

Mr McCarthy said his family was grateful that Trimble had pleaded guilty and accepted full responsibility, but asked him to agree not to drive again so as to spare the suffering of any other family.

Mr McCarthy said that when he married his wife in Co Cork in 1985, the local priest said the man that was marrying Frances Crowley was "one lucky man".

"I was that lucky man until our luck ran out," he said.