Brother of Clare All-Ireland winner 'left to suffer alone' after being fatally hit by speeding car, court hears

The late Eugene McNamara

A drunk motorist was driving at a speed of 120km/h and not slowing down in a built-up area in Ennis before he struck GAA coach, Eugene McNamara, 42, on a footpath at a roundabout.

Slovakian national, Rene Miko of Place de Plouzane, Kilrush was three-times over the legal limit for drink driving when his black BMW hit pedestrian, Mr McNamara from behind at 10.05pm on October 26, 2016.

Mr McNamara was walking on the footpath on his way home after watching a soccer match on TV at his brother’s house.

Chilling CCTV footage shown at Ennis Circuit Court on Friday captured the high speed of Mr Miko’s BMW on the dark night and Mr McNamara walking along the footpath opposite McDonalds in Ennis before the fatal impact.

Mr Miko’s car was travelling at more than twice the local speed limit of 50km/h.

The footage shows off-duty garda, Garda Michael O’Connor of Roxboro Rd Garda Station, Limerick doing a U-turn on the Gort Road leading into the roundabout to pursue the Miko car after he saw the speed it was travelling at.

In a statement, Garda O’Connor said that before Mr Miko’s car struck Mr McNamara, it first hit another car putting the other car airborne and spinning a number of times.

The Gardaí investigation found that Mr Miko’s car made no effort to reduce its 120kmph speed before coming into the roundabout.

Judge Gerald Keys told Mr Miko that he is facing jail time for the dangerous driving causing death of Mr McNamara but has allowed Mr Miko remain on bail pending his sentencing on March 25.

In a victim impact statement on behalf of the McNamara family, double All-Ireland hurling winner with the Clare hurlers from the 1990s and brother of Eugene, Stephen McNamara said that Eugene “was left to suffer alone on the side of the road” as the CCTV footage showed Mr Miko and his passenger get out of their car and flee the scene.

The two ran across the nearby Fairgreen park to New Rd at Rice College before they were apprehended by Garda O’Connor at Marian Avenue.

Mr McNamara died a number of days later from his injuries and Asst State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster found that Mr McNamara died from severe traumatic brain injury as a result of blunt force trauma in a road traffic collision.

In his first Garda interview, Mr Miko maintained his right to silence and at first did not admit culpability.

It was only after gardaí retrieved forensic evidence showing Mr Miko’s DNA from the air bag on the driver’s side that Mr Miko admitted: “I am maybe 30% to 40% responsible but I can’t be 100% responsible because I don’t think I was the driver.”

Garda Alan Ryan said that Mr Miko did accept the findings of the DNA tests.

Counsel for the State Lorcan Connolly BL said that Mr Miko said that he did not have a recollection of the incident.

Garda Ryan said that Mr Miko could not remember how he got into the car or how he came to driving it.

Counsel for Mr Miko, Mark Nicholas SC said that Mr Miko “had no experience of driving, had no driving licence, had no car and had no history of driving and no ambition to drive in any way”.

Mr Nicholas said that his client has pleaded guilty but could not at first admit to driving as he did not remember what happened.

Mr Nicholas said that Mr Miko’s driving on the night caused catastrophic consequences and he apologises for what it is worth.

Mr Nicholas said that Mr Miko has no previous convictions, is young and is of good character.

Stephen McNamara

In his victim impact statement, Stephen McNamara said that the life of his brother was cruelly taken.

Stephen said that the “nightmare” caused from that night is constantly with the McNamara family “and the circumstances around Eugene’s death are always on our minds”.

Stephen said that Eugene was one of four sons and even after purchasing his own home would have dinner at his parents’ house every day telling them his news.

Stephen stated that Eugene’s “chair at the family table is now empty and that is a constant reminder”.

He said that his parents never have a night where they are able to sleep without waking and thinking what happened Eugene on his walk home that night.

Stephen added that Eugene won’t be around to see his brother Barry get married this May and the special bond with his twin, David has been destroyed by that night in October 2016.

The All-Ireland winner said that Eugene has also not been around for the birth of a niece and nephew since October 2016 “and he now won’t get to know them and see them grow up”.

Stephen said that Eugene’s involvement with Eire Óg GAA as a player, coach and manager started when he was eight years of age.

He recalled that at Eugene’s funeral a Guard of Honour was put on by members of the U12 Eire Óg team that Eugene coached.

Stephen said that Eugene “was cruelly knocked down by a speeding car and was left to suffer alone by the side of the road. It is a picture that haunts all of his family and remains with us”.

He said that all those left behind “are living a daily nightmare with the horrible thoughts of what happened Eugene as he walked home alone innocently on the footpath that night”.

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