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Derry man pleads guilty to five-death crash 04.02.09

A Derry man dramatically changed his plea in court yesterday and admitted dangerous driving causing the deaths of five young people in Co Donegal.
Brendan Henderson, 16 Seven Oaks, Waterside, Derry, admitted causing the deaths of Gavin Duffy, 21, his cousin Darren Quinn, 21, David Steele, 23, Rochelle Peoples, 22 and Charlene O'Connor, 21. All five friends from the Inishowen peninsula, were travelling in the same car when it was involved in a horrific crash with the defendant's vehicle at Cross, Quigley's Point, in the early hours of October 8, 2005.
Brendan Henderson The 50-year old defendant, who has used a wheelchair since the accident, was first charged with the offence in April 2008 when he entered a not-guilty plea. The dramatic turnaround came yesterday at Letterkenny Circuit Court. Judge John O'Hagan told the victims' families he hoped the change of plea would help them get on with their lives. "No doubt there will be a certain amount of closure in that someone has admitted responsibility for what happened," he said. Spokesperson for the families, Annette Duffy, mother of Gavin Duffy, described their sense of "surprise and relief" at the defendant's guilty plea.
She said it was a good day for their children's memory but she also acknowledged the defendant's change of position. "It will be a difficult time for him and his family but fair dues to him for accepting responsibility. Hopefully, it will help him in the long run," she said. Ms Duffy also expressed the families' hope that the five inquests could follow in due course. Henderson, a psychiatric nurse, was remanded on continuing bail to facilitate the preparation of medical and probation reports. He will be sentenced in April.
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