A 74-YEAR-OLD motorist who admitted responsibility for a head-on collision which left the occupants of a vintage MG with severe injuries has been disqualified from driving for 15 months.

Victor McBreen, a retired teacher of Taghart, Shercock, County Cavan, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily injury to Sean and Pauline Quigley by driving without due care and attention at Lough Shore Road, Enniskillen on June 18, 2017.

A previous sitting of Fermanagh Magistrates Court heard that, at noon, police were called to a road traffic collision on the Lough Shore Road.

The injured party and his wife had been driving their classic MG car from Enniskillen to Donegal when they said they were hit “head on” by McBreen, who had crossed the white line onto their side of the road.

“The three drivers behind would also say the defendant crossed the white line,” the court heard.

The couples’ extensive injuries were outlined to the court. The man suffered a punctured lung, five broken ribs, a broken shoulder, 14 fractures in his femurs, five stitches to his right eye and multiple lacerations to his legs.

His wife suffered a dislocated left shoulder, two fractures in her upper left arm, a fracture in her right knee and deep lacerations to both legs.

The pair were treated in various hospitals and nursing homes.

As of August 2017, the man still required 24-hour care at his son’s home, while his wife had still not regained power in her arm.

Meanwhile, at the defendant’s sentencing hearing last Wednesday, the court heard that the couple were back home at the moment, but were still experiencing “ongoing physical and emotional issues”.

“The prospect of further surgery has not been ruled out,” the prosecutor added.

During police interview, McBreen initially told the officers that he “strongly believed” the collision had occurred on his side of the road.

Defending counsel, Gavyn Cairns, told the court that his client, who was accompanied by his wife, was “extremely remorseful and sorry that the occupants of the vehicle were injured”.

The barrister conceded that McBreen’s “error of judgement has had serious consequences”.

In mitigation, Mr. Cairns said that the defendant, who is a teetotaller, had been driving a vehicle that was “fully roadworthy and insured”.

He added that there was no suggestion that any vehicle had been travelling at speed.

The barrister told the court that, “most regrettably”, the injured parties had been the occupants of a vintage vehicle and did not have the benefits of safety mechanisms available in cars over the last two decades.

Describing his client as a man with an impeccable record and standing in his community, Mr. Cairns revealed that, on the day in question, he had been driving back from receiving a reward for his teaching service.

District judge, Michael Ranaghan, observed that he had given much thought to the appropriate sentence in the case.

The judge said that McBreen deserved full credit for his early guilty pleas and “unblemished” driving record, but added that the “significant injuries” of the injured parties could not be ignored.

Mr. Ranaghan said that, “for whatever reason”, the defendant had left the carriageway and then initially claimed that the other driver was at fault.

The judge imposed a fine of £750, a £15 offender levy and a 15-month driving disqualification.