The following is a statement from the McCarragher family following the sentencing today of Nathan Finn and Damien McCann.
Finn was sent to prison for nine years for causing the death of Lesley-Ann McCarragher in a hit-and-run incident. McCann was fined £500 and banned from driving for two years for Dangerous Driving.
The statement reads:
"Lesley–Ann was a kind, caring, honest, hardworking, witty, sporty and outgoing girl. Having been brought up in a Christian home she was a daughter that any person would have been proud of, and we all adored her.
As a daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend, the void left since 9th April 2016 will never be filled. A light has gone out in all of our lives.
We will never see Lesley–Ann complete her studies, find the love of her life, and perhaps have a family of her own. Instead we are left broken-hearted.
Lesley-Ann decided to go for a jog that morning, as she often did. In a split second, her life was cruelly snatched from her by the selfish actions of Nathan Finn.
But events beforehand did not take place in a split second.
Finn chose to get behind the wheel of a car he had only taken possession of the previous day.
He chose to drive it dangerously, without a licence or insurance on a public road at high speed. He and Damien McCann chose to drive through the roads of Armagh at speed.
Finn chose to mount the hard shoulder to undertake a car.
He struck Lesley Ann, throwing her into the middle of the road and chose to leave her to die.
He chose to flee the scene, without even a flicker of care or compassion.
He chose to conceal his car after the incident. He chose to hide and destroy evidence and interfere with a key witness in the aftermath.
Despite overwhelming evidence, he chose to deny his guilt in causing Lesley-Ann’s death, for a considerable time.
THROUGHOUT ALL, LESLEY-ANN NEVER HAD ANY CHOICE AT ANY TIME.
It is of huge regret both Finn and McCann demonstrated absolutely no remorse for their actions.
As a family we have never sought retribution but the sentence for Finn had to be proportionate, appropriate and a deterrent for others drivers.
However no sentence can ever bring Lesley-Ann back.
Whilst the courts could not establish a link in law between Finn And McCann’s actions, as a family we find it difficult to understand how the dangerous driving to which McCann pleaded guilty did not in some way contribute.
If anything comes from this tragedy, we appeal to drivers to ensure no-one has their life cut short like our beautiful Lesley-Ann, and no-one suffers as we have as a family.
The sentence handed down to Finn should be lesson to other drivers
Finally we wish to express our thanks and appreciation for all those that cared for Lesley-Ann in her final hours both at the scene and in hospital.
We thank the PSNI for their time and effort in investigating the case and a special word of thanks to Sergeant Joyce Cullen and Sergeant John Downey, our family liaison officer who have been most supportive over the last two and a half years it has taken to bring this case to a conclusion."