Eight and a half year jail sentence for dangerous driver

Sinead Maguire's mother Lillian and her father Raymond Maguire outside court after Eric Wansboro received an eight and a half year jail sentence
Sinead Maguire's mother Lillian and her father Raymond Maguire outside court after Eric Wansboro received an eight and a half year jail sentence

A man who was banned from the road when his dangerous driving caused the death of a back seat passenger has received an eight and a half year jail sentence.

Eric Wansboro (27) of Cherry Garth, Rivervalley, Swords, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Sinead Maguire (43) and serious bodily harm to Liam McDonagh at Fairview, north Dublin on May 29 2014.

Ms Maguire's death was caused by the severity of neck and spinal injuries resulting from the collision, according to a post mortem report by Professor Marie Cassidy.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Wansboro was driving the Toyota Avensis at speed while being pursued by a garda patrol car.

Gardai had earlier attempted to pull him over to check the car for tax and insurance. The patrol car appeared at the scene shortly after the fatal crash and gardai found all three occupants unconscious.

The car was reduced to scrap by the crash and every panel and mechanical component was damaged, the court heard. Mr McDonagh, the front passenger, was not wearing a seat belt and suffered a fractured jaw and lost five teeth.

Defence counsel said part of Wansboro's heart was “blown” during the crash and his aorta had to be rebuilt by surgeons. He also suffered damage to his frontal brain lobe and has no recollection of the crash.

In a letter to the court Wansboro accepted responsibility for the suffering and loss caused by him, Michael Bowman SC, defending, said.

At the time of the crash Wansboro was out on a suspended sentence of three years for an offence of driving a stolen car in December 2011.

At that sentencing, in July 2013, Judge Mary Ellen Ring also disqualified him from driving for ten years after hearing that in a high speed garda chase Wansboro was driving a car that had just been stolen during a house burglary.

Judge Ring imposed the three year suspended sentence today and imposed an additional term of five and a half years for the dangerous driving offence.

She backdated the sentence to January last when Wansboro went into custody. Supporters of Wansboro cheered as he was led away to the court cells while Ms Maguire's family remained silent.

Wansboro's 29 previous convictions are mostly for road traffic offences and include a conviction for drunk driving. In 2009 he received a four year sentence at Athlone Circuit Criminal Court of possession of firearms and ammunition. He had just been released from that jail term when he was caught driving the stolen car in 2011.

A taxi driver who witnessed the fatal crash estimated the car to be moving at a speed of 100 mph at a T junction with a speed limit of 50 kph. Wansboro was trying to take the right turn but instead the car continued forward and hit a tree and a lamp post.

A garda forensic investigator put the minimum speed at the point of impact, at the junction of Malahide and Clontarf roads, at 82kph. There was no evidence of emergency breaking.

In a victim impact report Ms Maguire's family said that she was a best friend and a carer to their mother, who has Parkinson’s disease. Speaking outside the court Lillian Maguire said her daughter was a caring, fun-filled person.

Mr Bowman said that Wansboro came from a decent family. He said he had excelled at boxing from an early age and went on to represent Ireland at under age level. He joined the army until 2008.

Counsel said his client had suffered brain injuries during the crash and has been unable to access the hospital care recommended for his recovery. 

Judge Ring said that this case was at the severe end of the scale of this type of offence. She noted that letters written by Wansboro to the court made no reference to Mr McDonagh’s injuries and only a short reference to Ms Maguire.

She said his guilty plea was a mitigating factor but only to a limited degree given that he was “caught red handed”. 

In October 2010 Wansboro received a two year jail term for an attack on a young man on Dublin's O'Connell Street following an altercation between two groups of youths.

He had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a gun on Sarsfield Road, Ballyfermot and assault causing harm to Graham Weekes on Burgh Quay on dates between May 10, 2007 and August 19, 2008.