Derry man pleads guilty to
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.
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