A disqualified Pettigo farmer who killed his brother in a hit and run five years ago laughed at his nieces after being jailed for six months last Friday and banned from driving for five years.

Pat McCafferty (pictured right), who was 49, died after he was hit by a car on the Tullychurry Road outside the Fermanagh, Donegal Border town of Belleek in the early hours of January 5, 2014.

Behind the wheel of the blue Ford Focus car was his 45-year-old younger brother Francis McCafferty from Grout Hall, Laghey in Co Donegal, who admitted causing death by careless driving, and driving while disqualified and uninsured.

Last Friday he and three of his nieces listened as Judge Stephen Fowler QC acknowledged that the distress and hurt caused by the “tragic death” had been immense, but also that “no term of months or years imposed” could reconcile a family to their loss, “nor will it cure their anguish”.

However, as McCafferty was being lead from the dock at Dungannon Crown Court, he banged on a glass panel by the public gallery and also mouthed something at his nieces.

Outside the court, two of the girls Fiona and Tina McCafferty claimed their uncle, laughed at them, had never shown any remorse for the pain and hurt he had caused them and their family, and that it should never have been taken into account in his sentencing. The girls said while they could not make out what he was “muttering”, he “laughed basically in all of our faces”.

Tina later complained that, “he gets to walk away in six months time and live the rest of his life whatever way he wants to”.

She had described the court experience as “just disgusting ...after five years we have to go through that at the end of a court where there’s no justice for any of us.”

“We are not happy at the outcome at all ... I think he should have got a lot longer for everything that he has done ... and he gets to walk away”.

“There’s no words for what pain he’s caused us,” she added.

“Maybe if he ever would have admitted to what he did and maybe apologise it would have eased some of it.

“It just seems he didn’t care about him the way we care but it’s us that’s left without a father now.”

Fiona McCafferty, echoing the hurt their uncle had caused them all, added that her father had played a big part in all of their lives, and in the lives of their children but that now “he won’t get to see his grand kids grow up”.

Last week prosecution QC Ciaran Murphy explained that McCafferty had been giving his brother and others a lift home, but that they argued, as they often did.

However, although he drove away, he returned a short time later, and as Mr. Murphy claimed, drove into the area where he would have known Pat and the other pedestrians were present.

Then having driven into his brother Pat who’d been standing in the middle of the road, throwing him into the air, McCafferty fled and “subsequently engaged in a charade as to what had happened”.

Although Gardai, who later found the car, initially arrested him on suspicion of murder he denied being involved, telling Gardai: “I didn’t hit him. I didn’t do it. I wasn’t driving the car.”

Two days later he gave a statement in which he admitted being the driver but claimed it was an accident.

He said he had been driving at 30mph when “he (Pat) ran straight out. I just hit him. I didn’t think anything was wrong.”

He was arrested by the PSNI in 2018 and made denials and no comment replies during the course of six interviews.

Mr. Murphy said while experts estimated McCafferty had been driving at “a relatively slow speed”, it was on “a narrow county road where he knew there were pedrestrians present, who had consumed alcohol .... and a real risk of colliding with them as he is driving within the limits of his headlights on a dark night”.

“His grossly irresponsible behaviour in leaving the scene and the charage in which he engaged in relation to the vehicle are aggravating features,” added the lawyer.

Defence QC James Gallagher said it was estimated that the father of two and carer for his elderly mother, would have been “left about half a second” to avoid his brother, dressed in black... “who regrettably was highly intoxicated” when he took the “rash” decision to step into the middle of the road in an attempt to stop his car.

Mr. Gallagher said that initially a “remorseful and sad” McCafferty couldn’t accept what he had done, “given the enormity of what occured and the fact it was his brother”. Counsel said that the “essence” of the case was that McCafferty should have taken “greater control” of his driving, but had not.

And that on “a dark unlighted country road, a driver, not driving at any great speed, is confronted unfortunately by a person who came out in front of him”.