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Horror smash Driver regrets Sydney motorway pile-up that killed Irishman on his way to work

Francis Shanley (36) died in the subsequent crash involving at least eight cars and a truck at the Church Street off-ramp

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Francis Shanley and fiancee Broc Nicholson

Francis Shanley and fiancee Broc Nicholson

Francis Shanley and fiancee Broc Nicholson

A driver who caused a catastrophic pile-up on Sydney's M4 that resulted in the death of Irish tradesman, Francis Shanley, has said he wishes he “never got out of bed that day”. 

Francis Omigie is facing a sentencing hearing in the NSW District Court after a jury found him guilty of dangerous driving occasioning death, and failing to stop and assist in May 2019.

The 56-year-old part-time electrical trades assistant was driving a green Toyota Echo on the motorway before he changed lanes and suddenly stopped in front of another vehicle before continuing to merge.

Shanley (36) who was on his way to work, died in the subsequent crash involving at least eight cars and a truck at the Church Street off-ramp in Mays Hill, while about 200 metres of debris was left sprawled along the motorway.

An Isuzu truck carrying beer kegs was unable to avoid the pile up on the 'Death Valley' exit before hitting Shanley’s vehicle.

Francis who was a native of Currycramp, Bornacoola, Co Leitrim and is understood to have been living in Australia for about ten years, died at the scene.

Shanley, who had been living in the Sydney suburb of Wentworthville, was engaged to Broc Nicholson who shared an emotional message about his death on Facebook at the time.

“He will be forever in our hearts and sadly missed. I thank you all for your love, support and messages of kind words,” she wrote. “Going to be a long road ahead getting back on our feet... Fly high my beautiful angel I love you forever and always.”

Omigie, who migrated to Australia from Nigeria on a marriage visa, said his action had led to the death of another human being also named Francis.

He testified on Friday via audio visual link from jail that he wished he "never got out of bed that day".

Sometimes sobbing during his evidence, Omigie said he could not explain why he briefly stopped while trying to merge in lanes to his left.

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"I should have continued driving, I should have kept the traffic going," he said.

Asked about the fail to stop charge, he said he only found out about what happened behind his car the following day when police contacted his ex-wife.

If he had known what happened at the time, he would have pulled over and tried to assist by at least ringing the emergency services.

He had not heard any cars behind him making loud screeching noises and would have been "in motion when the crash happened".

He was extremely sad that a life had been lost because of "one day of stupidity on my part".

He said he had written a letter to be given to Mr Shanley's Australian fiancée, Broc Nicholson, who watched the proceedings via audio-visual link.

Judge Jane Culver will sentence him at a later date.

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