Crash victim in vegetative state, court is told

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A woman who was injured in a single road traffic collision the week before Christmas remains in a ‘semi-vegetative state’, a court has heard.

The woman, who was a front seat passenger when she was injured in a crash on the Clooney Road, is able to breathe on her own and move on her own.

However, an investigating officer said there is “very little in the way of higher cognitive ability” and the “prognosis is relatively bleak” for the woman.

The update on the woman’s condition came as 19-year-old Conor McSorley applied for bail at Derry Magistrates’ Court. The teen is alleged to have been the driver of the vehicle which crashed on December 20, last year.

McSorley, of Roe Mill Walk, Limavady, faces a total of 13 driving offences.

They include causing grievous bodily injury by driving carelessly whilst unfit and with excess alcohol, driving without due care and attention and excess speed.

He is further charged with possessing cannabis and failing to stop or remain at the scene of the accident and failing to report it.

McSorley had been granted bail to reside at an address agreed by police and on condition that he be banned from entering Limavady.

However, there was an application to vary this bail as the only address available to the teen was one in the town.

Opposing the application, an investigating officer told the court there is ‘tension within the family and the community’ as a result of the alleged incident and ‘that hasn’t changed’ in the last couple of months.

However, he confirmed there had been no threats made to the defendant or his family since the alleged incident.

He added that the address was unsuitable as the woman’s father lives a short distance away.

The officer told the court McSorley has a history of breaching bail conditions and has 58 previous convictions, including seven for driving offences.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin said it was a ‘very, very difficult situation’ and if there was another address available anywhere else it would have been suggested to the court.

Mr Devlin said McSorley has a ‘fairly limited network of people from whom he can seek assistance’ and the address is with a family friend.

District Judge Barney McElholm released McSorley to reside at the address in Roe MIll Walk.

However, the 19-year-old is banned from entering Irish Green Street and from going within 800 metres of Keady Way.

McSorley is also banned from having any contact with the woman’s family.

The judge asked the police officer to brief them about McSorley being released on bail ‘so it doesn’t come as a surprise to them’.

He added that he had no objection to the family being provided with a copy of the bail conditions so they are aware of where the teen isn’t allowed to be.

McSorley will appear in court again at a later date.