A woman who was orphaned by a self-proclaimed boy racer killer driver wept in court on Thursday as the man who killed her parents was jailed for 14 months.
Ordering Charles Hugh Macartney (20) to spend a further 14 months under supervised licence, Newtownards Crown Court Judge Geoffrey Millar QC also banned him from driving for five years.
Jailing Macartney, from Manse Court in Newtownards, Judge Millar told him that excess speed was “front and central” to the accident which killed Dean and Sandra Weir on St Patrick’s Day 2017.
“It’s a sad fact that day and daily, young men 17, 18, 19, 20, get behind the wheels of cars and believe that by virtues of their age and lack of life experience, they’re invincible and believe that they can control their own destiny, can control the vehicles that they drive and that there are no consequences.
“The events of the morning of St. Patrick’s Day 2017 tell a different and sad story,”.
The judge added that “harrowing” TV adverts ell the message that “when you get behind the wheel of a car, you are driving a potential murder weapon, a killing machine”.
Married couple Dean and Sandra Weir were on their way to meet friends in Dublin when Macartney lost control of his Nissan Micra car and crashed into their Suzuki Alto.
Prosecuting counsel Laura Ievers outlined how a dash cam seized from Macartney’s car showed he was driving at almost 90mph when he lost control on Dunover Road, Ballywalter.
Mr Weir (52) died at the scene, while Sandra, also 52, passed away a month later as a result of deep vein thrombosis caused by the fractures she sustained.
She died in the arms of the couples’ daughter Katie, their only child.
Speaking outside the court following the sentencing, Katie lambasted the sentence as a “kick in the teeth”.
“I just don’t think it reflects the fact that he caused the death of two people and certainly doesn’t deter other drivers from driving at excessive speed,” said Katie, adding that she wished she had died in the crash too.
“I think I would rather have been in that car - it would just be easier if mum was alive and I was dead because it’s so hard.”
The graduate called for legislation to be changed to allow judges to impose life sentences on killer drivers as guidelines and maximum sentences in NI are inadequate.
Katie said that according to her research a life sentence is available to judges in the rest of the UK,
“I think he should’ve at least received ten years,” she added.
Defence counsel Stephen Toal said Hugh Macartney will carry his guilt “for the rest of his life and will always deeply regret the loss of life to the Weir family”.
The lawyer said Macartney “would give anything to go back to that point and slow down and change the outcome”.
Mr Toal said Macartney had a completely clear record, there were no issues with alcohol or drugs and there were references that he had “helped others throughout his young life”. Jailing Macartney, Judge Millar said a custodial sentence “is both appropriate and necessary...to act as a deterrent” to everyone who drives.