The family of a man killed when the driver of a car he was in crashed after filming a Snapchat video at 225 km / h, recounted how Garda gave them a “live commentary” as his body was identified.
Ryan Magill (24) was killed in the horror of the collision of two cars at Carrickarnon, Ravensdale, Dundalk, Co Louth in the early hours of February 29 last year.
He was the rear passenger of a 3.0-liter Audi driven by Keith Lennon when the 21-year-old from Co Armagh entered the back of another car at high speed.
In the carnage that followed, mother and son Mary (82) and Kevin (58) Faxton from Bessbrook, who were in the other car, were both killed.
Magill, from Newry, who had only met Lennon for the first time that evening, died in the back seat of his car.
Lennon fled the scene but went to Dundalk Garda station the next day and was then jailed for nine years.
Recalling the morning of the smash, Francis Harte, partner of Bryan Magill’s mother, Yvonne Magee, told the BBC how the family listened as a Garda on the other end of the line confirmed Bryan’s death.
“I called the Drogheda hospital and spoke to a guard,” Harte said. “I had the phone on speakerphone. The whole house was full of family. Brothers and sisters, mom and dad.
“Basically we got a live commentary from Bryan in the morgue and his identification.
The guard began to describe Bryan’s features – his clothes, his hair.
“Every sentence he said we knew, then he said they found a bank card in his pocket and after that it was a mess.
Lennon’s court hearing learned of how Kevin Faxton was driving his mother Mary home after they went for a ride because she was suffering from depression and driving was beneficial to him.
Yvonne Campbell, whose mother and brother died in the crash, said her father “couldn’t live without” his wife and son.
“At about half past six in the morning my brother Malcolm called and said dad was very distressed,” she said.
“Mom and Kevin went out for a walk and weren’t home. So of course we all made it to Daddy’s – he only lives a minute away.
“We knew there was something wrong. We called their cell phones.
“Around eight o’clock my brother-in-law called to say that there had been a serious accident near the Carrickdale and we kind of knew it by then.
“Daddy’s health deteriorated. He just couldn’t live without them. It broke his heart every day. He cried every day.
“It’s just sad that in the last year of his life… he’s only been dead six or seven weeks now.” He just wanted to be with them.
In December 2020, Lennon pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter and in February 2021 he was sentenced to nine years in prison with 12 months suspended. He also received a 20-year driving ban.
The judge said it was one of the worst cases she had ever heard, but families were disappointed with the sentence.
“There is no sentence that will ever bring them back,” said Yvonne Campbell.
“But I honestly believe he should have been 10 years old for every life he took.”
Francis Harte added: “She has issued a 20-year driving ban, but people like that should never be able to hit the road again,” he said.
Lennon is appealing his sentence, but no date has been set for this hearing.