A so-called ‘boy racer’ was warned on Monday that he faces going to prison after he confessed to causing a three-car crash which claimed the lives of two men.
Moments after issuing his stark warning to 22-year-old Shane Kinney who pleaded guilty to causing death and grievous bodily injury at Antrim Crown Court, Judge Desmond Marrinan added that his parents Sharon and Kevin also “stand at great peril of going to prison” after they admitted to perverting the course of justice.
Kinney and his parents, all from the Drones Road in Armoy, were scheduled to go on trial on Monday but after several hours of delay, their lawyers asked for some of the charges to he put to them again.
Leaning in close to the microphone, Shane Kinney pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of Robin Wilson and Johnny Black on 6 April 2015 by driving dangerously on the Cushandall Road in Ballycastle.
He also entered guilty pleas to causing grievous bodily injury to Clodagh Arbuckle and Denise Dunlop, also by dangerous driving.
Ms Arbuckle sustained what has previously been described as “permanent, significant brain damage” in the tragic collision.
Standing alongside him in the dock, his 50-year-old mother Sharon Kinney pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by removing her sons VW Golf from the Carrickmore Road in the seaside town while his father Kevin (52), admitted the same offence and a further similar count by “obtaining parts for a VW Golf from a breakers yard in Armoy.”
Prosecution QC Ciaran Murphy asked for a further charge that all three conspired to pervert the course of justice to “be left on the books,” adding that the pleas “are in satisfaction of the indictment and meet the interests of justice.”
During a bail application for the killer driver, Judge Marrinan commented that rather than a case of deliberate violence, “the intention here was to engage in some form of race as, sadly, some people do, especially young drivers.”
The judge said while he was prepared to grant continuing bail to all three, he placed an additional term on Shane Kinney, disqualifying him from driving or using an motorised vehicle on a public road.
Commending the various defence lawyers for their professional approach to “what would have been a very difficult and painful case” had it ran as a trial, Judge Marrinan said the Kinney’s would get some credit for their 11th hour pleas.
Ordering pre-sentence probation reports, the judge told the defendants their pleas had hopefully life for their victims and their relatives “slightly gentler.”
The three-vehicle collision happened on the Cushendall Road at about 3.40am on Easter Monday, 6 April and Johnny Black, who was from the nearby Glenshesk area of Ballycastle, died at the scene while Robin Wilson, who was from Armoy, died in hospital.
No facts were opened on Monday but previous courts have heard claims that the two cars at the scene were a Volkswagen Bora which Mr Wilson was in, heading in the direction of Ballycastle and a Peugoet containing Mr Black heading in the opposite direction.
Police investigations however lead them to a VW Golf owned by Kinney after witnesses identified its registration to officers.
Kinney handed himself into police two days later and surrendered his car for examination but while no damage was found on it, various parts were later forensically matched to a car held in an Armoy scrap yard.
A detective described how witnesses had given statements to the effect that his car had been damaged in the impact and that he fled the scene and his car was collected that evening by his parents.