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Concerns raised over trial date for man accused of causing couple’s death in Portadown collision

Sylvia and John McKee
Sylvia and John McKee

Concerns were raised over a November trial date for a man accused of of causing the deaths of a retired Co Armagh couple in a car crash in Portadown in 2019.

The trial of Andrew McGarrity, from Loughview, Gawleys Gate in Aghagallon, is due to begin on November 13.

The 58-year-old has already pleaded not guilty to causing the deaths of John and Sylvia McKee by driving carelessly on the Northway on August 4, 2019.

He has also denied two counts of perverting the course of justice by allegedly destroying the SD card from the dash-cam in his vehicle immediately following his involvement in a road traffic collision.

The McKees, who had three children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, sustained fatal injuries when their Peugeot 108 was involved in a collision with a Honda Accord.

Tragically, 72-year-old Mrs McKee passed away at the scene while her husband of 35 years, John (74), succumbed to his injuries just over a week later.

Mr McKee grew up in Poyntzpass and later worked for Tayto and De Lorean cars before taking on a job as a security guard before his retirement.

His wife grew up in Killicomaine and spent part of her career as a stitcher in Spence Bryson, Ulster Laces and the Mayfair.

They shared a love of country music and Liverpool FC.

During a brief update on the case in Craigavon Crown Court on Friday, the defence stated they were awaiting an expert report in relation to traffic sequencing.

“He’s carried out the inspection that has been required; he’s got all the papers and we’ve been told we will have the report fairly soon, hopefully within the next week to 10 days,” defence counsel said.

“We expect that will then be served on a forthwith basis to the prosecution. I know we’re getting quite close to the trial but I think [the expert] has been working as quickly as he can to get this report to us.”

However, His Honour Judge Patrick Lynch KC raised concerns and asked if there was any possibility in having the process expedited.

He added: “The prosecution may wish to make further enquiries themselves so we don’t want to jeopardise the trial date on November 13.”

Defence agreed to try and expedite the report and a review of the case will take place on October 6.

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