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Driver who caused pedestrian’s death unaware he had hit someone until told by his boss, court hears

He told gardai he thought he had hit a kerb.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

A TRUCK DRIVER whose dangerous driving caused the death of a 21-year-old pedestrian said he was unaware he had hit someone until contacted by his boss the following day, a court has heard.

Prince Aibangbe (51) after mistakenly believing he had seen a green filter light at a Dublin junction. His boss called gardai after receiving dashcam footage of his vehicle from another truck driver who had been a witness at the scene.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard there was no filter light at the junction and that Gerard Whyte was struck and killed after he began crossing the road as the green man appeared.

The heartbroken family of Mr Whyte told Judge Pauline Codd: “Our life sentence started on 31 May 2019 and will last for the rest of our lives.”

His parents, Julie and Gerard, described in their victim impact statement how Gerard, a Liverpool supporter, was a beloved son, brother and grandson with a wide network of friends.

They told the court that they received the news of the tragedy after arriving in Portugal to attend a wedding. They described how Gerard had hugged them goodbye the previous night.

“We had no idea it would be the last hug and last I love you and the last time we would hear our son’s voice,” they said. The statement outlined how they were heartbroken by the horrific, cruel and senseless way their son’s life had been taken.

Gerard’s sister Emma told the court she was a student in Australia when she received the call from her parents to tell her of her only brother’s passing. She had to take a 22-hour journey home alone.

 She said it was awful her parents’ hearts were as broken as hers and she could do nothing to fix it for them. “Will we ever be able to listen to ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ again without sobbing,” she asked.

Aibangbe, of Williams Way, Ongar Village, Dublin, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Mr Whyte at the Swords Road on May 31, 2019.

Aibangbe has nine previous convictions including four for road traffic offences. He was in court the week before this tragedy for two road traffic offences – driving without insurance and failing to display an NCT.

The court head Aibangbe received a €400 fine for those offences and the judge exercised his discretion not to disqualify him from driving on that occasion.

Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, said Aibangbe, a father of eight, had come to Ireland in the mid-2000s and has been working as a truck driver for 31 years, both in Ireland and his native Nigeria. Testimonials were handed in from his current and past employers.

Aibangbe wrote a letter to the court outlining his “sincere remorse” for his actions and extended a formal apology to the Whyte family. He said he accepted full responsibility and pleaded with the family to forgive him.

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Mr Dwyer said this was “an awful, dreadful case” but he said there were fewer aggravating factor present in Aibangbe’s case than other cases.

He told Judge Codd this was a case involving a momentary lapse as opposed to prolonged bad behaviour. He said there was no suggestion of drug, alcohol or phone use.

He asked the court to take into account his client’s early guilty plea and immediate remorse when confronted. He said this was a momentary fault with devastating results but was an aberration.

Judge Codd adjourned the case until next Wednesday 17 June to allow certain matters to be clarified and to allow colour photographs of the scene to be supplied to the court.

Comments are off as legal proceedings have not yet concluded.

About the author:

Fiona Ferguson

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