Victim’s family has only ‘anger and hatred’ towards fatal crash drivers

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The family of a man who was killed in a road traffic accident in 2013 has said they cannot forgive the two men responsible.

Speaking after the sentencing of 27-year-old Thomas Andrew Hyndman and 34-year-old Stephen Edward Joseph Magee, the family of David Ritchie said they felt nothing but “anger and hatred towards them”.

Mr Ritchie died after a head-on collision on the Glenshane Road near Londonderry.

Hyndman, of Knockbrack Road, Ardmore, was jailed for a total of eight years, half of which will be spent in custody and half on licence.

He pleaded guilty to causing the death of Mr Ritchie by dangerous driving on April 17, 2013.

Hyndman also admitted causing grievous bodily injury to his co-accused by dangerous driving and to being a disqualified and an uninsured driver at the time.

He admitted further charges of failing to remain at the scene of the accident and failing to report it.

Magee, of Ivy Mead in Londonderry, was jailed for 18 months, half of which will be spent in custody and half on licence.

He was acquitted by a Crown Court jury of causing death by dangerous driving, but was convicted of causing Mr Ritchie’s death by careless driving.

Hyndman and Magee were also disqualified from driving for seven years and five years respectively.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Ritchie’s daughter, Karen Kirkwood, said she will “never, ever forgive” the defendants for what they did, adding: “They took my father’s life away.”

Mrs Kirkwood said her father was “one of the best and would have done anything for anybody” and life for his family “will never be the same again”.

She said that Hyndman and Magee had shown no consideration for anyone on the road that night and the “law needs to be changed and sentences increased”.

Mrs Kirkwood said the family do not accept the defendants’ expressions of remorse.

“They can get their lives back when they are released from prison but we, as a family, cannot.”

Mr Ritchie’s grand-daughter, Megan Kirkwood, branded the sentences imposed by the court a “disgrace”.

“It has taken us five years to get to this point and for them to be handed petty sentences it’s not enough,” she added.

The family also said the crash has had a major impact on Mr Ritchie’s other grand-daughter, who was a passenger in the car and sustained minor injuries.

Londonderry Crown Court heard it was the prosecution case that the defendants were racing prior to the crash in which Mr Ritchie died and Magee sustained a brain injury. He has no memory of the accident as a result.

A number of witnesses gave evidence that prior to the crash, Magee and Hyndman were travelling at speed and were tailgating.

Hyndman overtook Magee as he approached a sweeping right-hand bend.

Magee then lost control of his car, veered across the road striking a crash barrier and then collided virtually “head on” with Mr Ritchie’s car.

The court heard there was “a prolonged and persistent course of bad driving” by both defendants for around three miles before the accident.

Both men have previous motoring convictions, and it was also revealed Magee has a subsequent conviction for driving on the Glenshane Pass at 98mph.