31 March 2006

Five years for crash deaths man

Three children were knocked down on Belfast's Springfield Road

A west Belfast man found guilty of killing two children by dangerous driving has been jailed for five years.

Wayne Johnston, 44, formerly from the Highfield estate, was convicted by a jury at Belfast Crown Court.

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Emma Lynch and Christopher Shaw

He was accused of killing Christopher Shaw, 11, and Emma Lynch, 8, on the Springfield Road in December 2003.

Johnston was also found guilty of causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving to Christopher's brother, Darren, then 13.

The children had been out walking their dog when Johnston lost control of his car which mounted the pavement and knocked them over.

During the two week trial, witnesses said they saw Johnston's car swerve into oncoming traffic and onto the pavement before the fatal impact.

They said his vehicle uprooted a traffic light and dragged it up the road where he crashed into the back of a parked vehicle.

Johnston had claimed he suffered a "blackout" due to a coughing fit after lighting a cigarette in the moments before the crash.

The judge said on Friday that Johnston should have considered the possibility that such a coughing fit might have happened.

Christopher died shortly after the accident while family friend Emma lived for a few days on a life support machine at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Christopher's brother Darren, who is now 15-years-old, suffered a fractured skull as well as cuts and bruises.

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