A 40-year old Belfast man who killed a mum-of-two in a stolen car whilst being chased by police was handed an 11-year sentence on Wednesday.
Belfast Recorder, Judge David McFarland, told Martin Alexander Nelson that his actions last April had robbed a heartbroken family of a much-loved mother, daughter and sister.
Lisa Gow died after she was struck by a car as she walked on the Ballysillan Road on April 19 last year. The 32-year old, who was mum to Olivia and Riley, died at the scene.
Relatives packed the public gallery of Belfast Crown Court to see the man responsible for her death sentenced. However, they left when an eight minute video of footage from a police helicopter was shown which depicted Nelson’s driving and the fatal collision with Ms Gow.
Several times during Wednesday’s sentencing, Nelson had to be roused by prison staff after appearing to fall asleep in the dock.
From Ardoyne Road, Nelson has amassed 242 previous offences which includes 55 prior motoring offences. As well as being jailed, he was also banned from driving for 15 years which the judge said was “appropriate to protect the public”.
He pleaded guilty to a six offences which culminated in Ms Gow’s death - including breaking into a house and stealing car keys, and returning to the same property two days later when he stole an Audi A4.
He then admitted driving the stolen car dangerously on various roads in north Belfast, and causing Ms Gow’s death by dangerous driving.
On the afternoon of the fatal collision, Nelson was being pursued by police who had deployed sirens, flashing lights and a ‘stinger’ in a bid to make him stop the car.
As he was being led from court and into custody after sentence was passed, Lisa’s mother Agnes called Nelson “scum” and said “I hope you rot in hell.”
Asked how he felt about the sentence handed down to Nelson, Lisa’s father, Peter Gow, said: “He could have got 14 years, but got less because he pleaded guilty – but he was caught red-handed.”
He also slammed Nelson’s claims of remorse, saying: “I never seen any remorse. He was sleeping. His prison warden had to waken him up at least four times that I seen.
“There was never any remorse. The only remorse he had was he was sorry he got caught.”
Ms Gow’s sister Kellyann added: “He had over 240 convictions. There’s countries out there were 240 convictions, if you knock someone down in a car it’s actually sentenced for murder. It’s homicide using a vehicle.”
In a statement prepared for the court, Mr Gow said “every day since Lisa died has been like living in a nightmare that doesn’t end.”
“The feeling is constant for us now, every second of every day - asleep, awake, day or night - the heaviness is always there, and most days even breathing hurts and it is a pain we have to live with for the rest of our lives,” he added.