Victim Patsy pictured with his son PadraigA CO Tyrone who was two-and-a-half times the legal drink drive limit when he killed popular Donegal GAA fan Patsy McCroary in a head-on collison was today sentenced to two and half years in prison and banned from driving for six years.Judge Paul Ramsey QC told 50-year-old Paul Nicholl that his history of alcohol abuse, which plagued him all his life, had led him to the ultimate horror of being responsible for and causing the death of another human being. The Omagh Crown Court judge said while he could accept Nicholl’s early guilty plea, his remorse, lack of criminal driving record and the fact he himself was injured, he could not “overlook the very high reading” of his alcohol level.Nicholl, of Carnkenny Road, Newtownstewart, had pleaded guilty to causing the death of the 62-year-old avid GAA fan, known affectionately as ‘Donegal Patsy’, by careless driving with excess alcohol and causing grievous bodily injury to his wife and children.Judge Ramsey in outlining the steps governing sentence said that the leading case from the Court of Appeal, “sadly …. emanates from this very jurisdiction, so the people of Co Tyrone are no strangers to the scourge of death on our roads.“The McCroary family,” he added, “are not the first, nor sadily will they be the last as we have had poignant reminders in recent times of the devastion such offences case”.Judge Ramsey said he had been given”eloquent, moving and heart rendering” victim impact reports from the family which spoke volumes of Mr McCroary both as a husband and father.His wife Geraldine said she still missed him, “as do the children…our lives have not been the same”, while his son Padraig commented that, “I was his only son and miss him so much”.The court had heard Nicholl lost control of his Suzuki car after hitting a kerb and careering into a car carrying Mr McCroary, his wife and two children in January 2014.Originally from Upper Art, Castlefin, he had been living in Castlederg and just days before the horror smash, was hailed as “Donegal’s number one supporter” during the Dr McKenna Cup game between Donegal and Tyrone in Letterkenny.Simon Reid, prosecuting, told the court that on the morning of January 8, 2014, Mr McCroary was a front seat passenger in a blue Toyota Avensis car being driven by his son Padraig. His wife Geraldine and their daughter Samanatha were rear seat passengers.He said they were travelling at 40 mph towards Strabane on the Mellmount Road between Sion Mills and Victoria Bridge when the collision happened.“As their car approached a left hand bend, Padraig McCroary saw a vehicle coming towards them. It had crossed into their lane,” said Mr Reid.“He realised that there was nothing he could do at that point. He was knocked out by the collision and the next thing he realised was people coming to assist him.”A female witness described seeing Nicholl trying to “correct his steering but strayed into the opposite lane, veering across the road and into the oncoming traffic, colliding with the McCroary car.”Police later reported smelling drink on Nicholl’s breath and also noticed that there was a 12 pack of beer in the car and one of them had spilled as a result of the accident.A blood sample taken from Nicholl revealed a reading of 204 milligrammes of alcohol to 100 millilitres of blood …. two and a half times the legal limit.Nicholl later told police during interview he had gone to a bar that morning to have a couple of pints and while on his way back home stopped off a shop and bought a 12 pack of beer and some sausage rolls, “but had no recollection after that”.The court also heard that although taken to the accident and emergency department at Altnagelvin Hospital in L’Derry for treatement, Mr McCroary, “sadly, despite the efforts to save his life, he didn’t recover from his injuries.”His son Padraig sustained a fracture to the sternum, seven broken ribs and three bone fractures to his foot, while his mum Geraldine, had multiple spine fractures, a broken pelvis, rib fractures, a fracture to her lower left leg. She also “had to be treated by the trauma team” at Altnagelvin.Her daughter Samantha had to be “put into an induced coma and had to be put on a life support machine” after sustaining a fracture to her skull, fractures to her eye socket and nose along with a contusion to her lung.Defence lawyer Ivor McAteer said Nicholl had a long history of dealing with his “alcohol demons” and was “deeply rmorseful” for causing the death of Patsy McCroary and seriously injuring his wife and two children.“He does not row back from his culpability and there is no trying to deflect or diluting the pain and hurt felt by the family of Mr McCroary.“It is a heartfelt approach by him and I was specifically requested to say that.”Nicholl will serve two and a half years in prison, followed by two and a half years on licence.M & M News ServicesTWO AND HALF YEARS IN PRISON FOR DRUNK DRIVER WHO KILLED ‘DONEGAL PATSY’ was last modified: May 10th, 2016 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:drink drive deathPATSY MCCROARY.