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The late Paudie Palmer Cork GAA

Man found guilty of dangerous driving causing death of GAA commentator Paudie Palmer

The father of two was hospitalised in the aftermath of the accident and died in Cork University Hospital on 8 January 2023.

A 33-YEAR-OLD MAN has been found guilty of dangerous driving causing the death of GAA commentator Paudie Palmer who worked for C103FM and 103FM.

Bohdan Bezverkhyi, who is a native of Ukraine but has an address at Rigsdale House in Ballinhassig, Co Cork had denied dangerous driving causing the death of Mr Palmer at Dunkereen Cross, Innishannon, Cork on 29 December, 2022.

Mr Palmer was a 65-year-old native of Kenmare in Co Kerry. He taught for forty years at St Brogan’s College in Bandon, Co Cork and was also a columnist for The Echo newspaper. 

The father of two was hospitalised in the aftermath of the accident and died in Cork University Hospital on 8 January 2023.

The jury of seven women and five men returned a unanimous guilty verdict this afternoon following almost six hours of deliberations. The trial got underway last week at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Jonathan Dunphy thanked the jury for their attention to detail. Bezverkhyi was remanded in custody for sentencing on 2 May next.

Victim impact statements will be prepared in advance of the sentencing hearing. A Governor’s report has also been ordered.

Meanwhile, earlier this week the trial heard that Bezverkhyi admitted to his mother and his friends in text messages just hours after the collision that he had “left the scene of a traffic accident drunk.”

Texts sent in Russian in the aftermath of the crash were translated into English and presented as evidence to the jury.

The texts were translated by translator Liudmilla Ladchenko. In one text the accused said “It is not funny to me. I will be jailed. Left the scene of a traffic accident. They  will take me in now. They will come and get me.”

One friend asked if he had hit anyone. He replied — “I did.” He asked another person for guidance via a text message.

“I got into a car accident. Advise me what to do. I am in the wrong 100%. I drove off. I was drunk. There is no excuse for me. I am guilty of all.”

He said via text that he was “blaming” himself and when asked by a friend why he hadn’t gone to the police he replied “because I am not sober”. 

Bezverkhyi also exchanged text messages with his mother in which he said that he would hand himself in the following day. His mother told him to put a “remnant of soap” in his pocket when he handed himself in to police. 

In one of the texts he said that he had “left the scene of accident. Was pissed. Nevertheless, need to surrender to the garbage. I don’t see any other way out. I think this is the most correct option.”

The trial also heard evidence from Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, who told the jury that Mr Palmer was around 300 to 500 metres from his home when the collision occurred. 

Dr Bolster said that Mr Palmer suffered a traumatic brain injury which included bleeding to his brain and bleeding to the membrane under his brain. She said that he also sustained a traumatic axonal injury. This is a tearing of the brain’s long connecting nerve fibres which occurs when the brain is injured.

Dr Bolster indicated that the cause of death was “traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries with thoracic injuries due to a road traffic collision.”

The State case was that Bezverkhyi came to a stop sign and went through it, just as Mr Palmer’s car was coming to the crossroads, causing it to spin and collide with the embankment, causing his death. 

Mr Palmer was very well known and respected in sporting circles. Attendees at his funeral mass included GAA stars Sean Og O’hAilpin,  Alan Quirke and Munster GAA Council PRO Bob Ryan. 

Poignantly, mourners at St Mary’s Church in Innishannon heard that Paudie had loved every minute of what was to be his last Christmas with his first grandchild, Lucas Pádraig who was born in September 2022.

His daughter Claire told the hundreds who had gathered for the funeral that her father had adored the newborn.

“Dad was looking forward to this year for so many reasons but being able to see his grandson Lucas grow and learn made his day. And that has now been robbed from us and him.

“There has been a piece of all three of us lost forever more. Dad, although you cannot be with us anymore, you can rest easy knowing that your three girls will be well minded having such a close knit family rallying around us.”

Chief celebrant Fr Finbarr Crowley described Paudie as having a multitude of gifts. 

He said that Mr Palmer brought a “palpable sense of joy” to his commentating.

“Whether it was for C103FM from some unknown village in Co Cork or senior hurling final it made no difference to Paudie or his listeners because we all lived the excitement. 

“But above all what Paudie got was that sense of community. The joy that a small village could celebrate a victory the same as the biggest club in Ireland could celebrate a victory. 

“I don’t think he realised what it did for every single community.”

Mr Palmer was survived by his wife Colette, his daughters Claire and Emily, his three brothers, extended family and friends. He was an uncle of Claudine Keane, who is the wife of former Ireland International Robbie Keane.


Olivia Kelleher