Man threw glass at step-sister’s killer in court

PUBLISHED: 18:18 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:50 16 August 2010

THE stepbrother of a woman killed by a drunk speeding driver was charged with contempt of court after hurling a glass jug across a court room at his sister s killer.

THE stepbrother of a woman killed by a drunk speeding driver was charged with contempt of court after hurling a glass jug across a court room at his sister's killer.

Stephen McGoldrick was outraged by the four-year sentence given to Paul Clements, 28, an insurance agent who admitted causing the death of mother-of-two Cheryl McGoldrick, 26, in January, this year.

He appeared at Croydon Crown Court last Friday, a day after Clements' sentencing and was given a 28-day suspended jail term and was barred from entering any court room for five years unless he is the defendant or a witness.

At Croydon Crown Court last Thursday, members of the McGoldrick family shouted "Is that all?" and "Not enough" when the judge handed Clements his sentence.

Mr McGoldrick grabbed the heavy glass water carafe from the clerk's desk and hurled it across the crowded courtroom, missing defence barrister John O'Higgins by a few inches.

It ended up among the defendant's family, one of whom was drenched but unhurt.

Judge Warwick McKinnon ordered his arrest to face a charge of contempt of court.

Clements, of Perth Road, Beckenham, had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge of dangerous driving, and prosecutor Nicholas Mesure said he had been speeding at an estimated 53mph.

Mrs McGoldrick, of Fairlaine Court, Oakwood Avenue, Beckenham, had been out with her two sisters, Amanda and Stephanie Barnett on January 25.

Mr Mesure said: "They reached a crossing in Beckenham High Road and looked to the right.

"The lights were green in favour of vehicles but they believed it was safe to cross.

"Then Amanda heard a noise and saw the reflection of a vehicle.

"Her first thought was that they would be able to reach the central reservation safely, but it was apparent the car was coming so fast it would hit one of them.

"There was no sound of a horn. The ladies had almost reached the centre when the car hit Mrs McGoldrick. The impact was very severe and she was thrown into the air."

Stephanie Barnett spoke later of her sister being thrown like a rag doll. Alcohol tests at the police station showed he was more than twice the legal drink-drive limit.

Mrs McGoldrick received multiple external and internal injuries and died two hours later in King's College Hospital.

Defending Mr O'Higgins said he had taken full responsibility for what happened and had not sought to minimize what he had done.

Judge Warwick McKinnon told Clements: "You literally mowed her down.

"You must have known you were unfit to drive. This was utter criminal culpability."

He said that a life that had been senselessly lost could not be measured by the length of a prison sentence.

Clements was banned from driving for five years and ordered to take an extended test before again being allowed behind the wheel of a car.

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