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Co Armagh man handed nine year jail term for causing crash which claimed three lives

A Co Armagh man has been jailed for nine years for causing a collision which claimed the lives of three people – including an elderly Bessbrook woman and her son.

Keith Lennon of Forest Park, Dromintee, was travelling along the main Belfast to Dublin road in the early hours of the morning on February 29, last year, when the fatal collision occurred at Carriccarnan, near Ravensdale.

Mary (89) and Kevin Faxton (58) – a mother and son from Bessbrook – and Bryan Magill (24) – known as ‘Bru’ – from Newry, all lost their lives as a result. The latter was a backseat passenger in Lennon’s car.

The 21-year-old, who initially fled the scene of the crash before presenting himself to Gardai the next day, pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter in December.

During an earlier court hearing, it was heard that gardaí retrieved video evidence from Snapchat which showed that Lennon had recorded two short videos in the minutes before the crash.

The videos, one which lasted ten seconds and another which lasted four seconds, showed the speedometer in the car at 140 miles per hour.

RTE News reports how the judge, in summing up the case, described it as the worst she has ever heard, with three fatalities and “showing-off” on social media. She described Lennon as reckless, immature, and over-confident.

Lennon was sentenced to 10 years in jail for each count of manslaughter, to run concurrently, with the final 12 months suspended. He was also disqualified him from driving for 20 years.

Speaking outside the court, Yvonne Campbell, spoke of losing her mother and brother that fateful day.

“On February 29, 2020, our world was ripped apart,” she said. “We lost two very precious people from our family; a loving wife, mother and grandmother; a precious son, brother and uncle.

“No sentence is ever going to bring our loved ones back to us. We now have to try and live the rest of our lives with the grief and pain this individual has forced upon us by his reckless driving while using a mobile phone and driving with excessive speed.”

In her victim impact statement from his family, Mr Magill’s mother said that no parent should see their child leave home in a coffin. And while Lennon will get prison visits, she will be visiting her son in a graveyard.

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