Whiteabbey woman jailed over road crash death

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A Whiteabbey woman who blacked out while driving along the M5 motorway and killed a young mother-of-two in a car crash has been sentenced to 15 months in jail.

At Belfast Crown Court, Mary McLaughlin (47), of Dillons Avenue, was ordered to serve five months in prison and the rest under supervision.

The judge said he was giving her a “significant discount” for her medical condition.

At the end of her trial in May, the jury unanimously convicted McLaughlin of causing the death of 27-year-old Rebecca McManus from Rathfern by dangerous driving. They agreed with the Crown’s case that McLaughlin knew that it was dangerous for her to be driving, but that she continued to do so anyway.

They also found her guilty of causing grievous bodily injury to four other people who were badly hurt in the crash at Hazelbank roundabout on October 7, 2010.

Passing sentence, the judge said McLaughlin had shown genuine remorse and had a completely clear record.

The retired health trust worker was also banned from driving for 10 years and will have to resit her test if she ever wants to drive again.