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Man whose dangerous driving caused Paudie Palmer’s death sentenced

A six-year jail sentence was today handed down to the Ukrainian national whose dangerous driving led to the death of GAA broadcaster Paudie Palmer, as the family said the accused hurt them more by blaming their loved one for what happened.

Judge Jonathan Dunphy said: “This tragic case related to 29 December 2022 at Dunkereen Cross, Innishannon, when Mr Palmer was driving his Peugeot car along a road he knew very well when the defendant turned off a minor road onto the main road and was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death.”

One of the aggravating factors in the case was a video recorded the previous day by the accused, Bohdan Bezverkhyi, 35, in which he recorded himself driving the same BMW 5 Series in Curraheen, County Cork, at a speed of 200 kilometers. per hour, for which he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

In relation to the day of the accident which caused the death of Paudie Palmer, the defendant pleaded guilty to four charges relating to leaving the scene of the accident after witnessing the late Mr Palmer’s car overturn.

Other aggravating factors were text messages sent by the defendant to family and friends shortly after the collision.

In these texts he stated in various ways: “I am 100% wrong, I left, I was drunk, there is no excuse for me, I am guilty of everything.” “I will be imprisoned. “I left the scene of the traffic accident drunk.” “I’m an idiot. I am guilty of everything. I don’t know what happened to the people. I blame myself for leaving.” “I left the scene of the accident. I was angry.”

Judge Dunphy disqualified the defendant from driving for ten years and handed him a prison sentence of seven and a half years, with the final year and a half suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. He was backdated to December 29, 2022, as the accused has been in custody since then.

Mitigating factors raised by defense lawyer Seamus Roche included the absence of previous convictions and the fact that it would be more difficult for a non-national to serve a prison sentence in a country where he effectively had no family support.

“Very difficult to deal with”

The late Mr Palmer’s brother John, speaking on behalf of his brothers Denis, Richie and himself, said: “Every aspect of this horrific road accident is very difficult to deal with, making it even worse (if anything). is possible) is the fact that the culprit drove away from the scene of the accident, leaving our brother mortally wounded in his overturned car on an embankment. The culprit admitted to his mother and his friends in text messages that he had “left the scene of the traffic accident drunk.”

“It is clear from the transcripts of the culprit’s text messages that he was only worried about himself and shows no concern for our poor brother Paudie.

“There are so many disturbing aspects to this horrible time in our lives: the culprit ran a stop sign, causing Paudie’s car to spin and hit the embankment, he admitted in text messages that he was drunk, he drove away from the crash site. of the accident and later refused to plead guilty to the charge of dangerous driving causing death.

“When the summer season started, Paudie was on the airwaves where we all tuned in to hear his magical commentary on big games. He had the ability to turn a bad game into a good game… We will never hear that magical comment again.”

‘The cornerstone of our family’

The late Mr Palmer’s daughter Claire today said on behalf of the family, including her mother Colette and sister Emily: “Moments before this accident, after spending her first and last Christmas with her first grandchild, Lucas, she left our home to meet a coworker for coffee and catch up. He shared his usual morning moment with my mother with a big wave and a cheeky smile. He was hit by a vehicle that then left the scene just 500 away. meters from our family home, never to return alive.

“Our father was the cornerstone of our family: our mentor, support and guiding star. His wisdom shaped who we are as adults. His death has left a void in our identities and lives. As a result of Dad’s sudden and horrible departure, our family dynamic has changed significantly.

    Claire Palmer-Panagiodis, daughter of the late Paudie Palmer, left Cork Circuit Criminal Court in Anglesea with family lawyer Diarmuid O'Shea after Claire made a victim impact statement in court.  Image Dan Linehan
Claire Palmer-Panagiodis, daughter of the late Paudie Palmer, left Cork Circuit Criminal Court in Anglesea with family lawyer Diarmuid O’Shea after Claire made a victim impact statement in court. Image Dan Linehan

“I married my best friend and now husband, Nicolas, several weeks ago, having postponed the date last year following those heartbreaking previous months. Not having your father walk you down the aisle, which is every little girl’s dream, was just heartbreaking. Having to place my father’s boutonniere on his grave instead of my mother pinning it to his suit was absolutely distressing, on a day that should have been the happiest in our family’s lives.

“Our mother has had to put on a brave face to tell us that we will be okay while she herself is struggling so deeply.

The family found it difficult to accept the trial (and the previous trial that ended suddenly at the last moment when a juror investigated the scene on a solitary visit to the accident site).

“Hearing our father being blamed for this incident was very offensive. A man who had nothing but the respect of every person he came into contact with. Not only the county, but the entire country mourned upon hearing the news of Dad’s tragic death: “a pillar of society”, “the voice of Cork”.

“To hear our father being blamed for this accident is painful and even at this late stage, if the defendant had shown any signs of remorse and could at least realize the effect his actions have had, obviously on our father, but on the rest. of us for the rest of our lives; It would be a comfort. But this remorse has never been seen.

“We are immensely grateful to the first responders and bystanders who were present at the scene of the accident. Your effort to help our father will never be forgotten.

“To everyone at Bandon Police Station, particularly Manus O’Donnell and Michelle O’Connor, who have guided us through such a difficult time and continue to do so. To everyone at Cork University Hospital, especially the A&E and ICU staff, whose dedication and care goes unnoticed until one is faced with such a tragedy.

“To the entire Innishannon community and indeed the country, your messages of condolence and constant letters about how dad impacted your daily life have been a great comfort and continue to be.

“All of Dad’s colleagues at St. Brogan’s, Bandon, C103 and 96FM, The Evening Echo, The Bandon Opinion and Valley Rovers, not forgetting his colleagues at The Celtic Ross Hotel, their support has been very thoughtful and appreciated, and we know You are all also suffering a significant loss.

“As we navigate this tumultuous period, my hope is that justice will be served today, not only as a legal necessity but as a crucial step in our healing process.”

Circumstances

Detective Garda Manus O’Donnell reviewed the circumstances of the incident in which the accused drove onto the road from a minor road guided by a stop sign and caused the death of Mr Palmer, and then drove away from the scene. The detective also described video of the defendant recording himself the previous day driving the BMW he bought two weeks earlier at speeds in excess of 200 kilometers per hour in Curraheen, Co Cork.

Bohdan Bezverkhyi of Rigsdale House, Rigsdale, Ballinhassig has been jailed.  Image Dan Linehan
Bohdan Bezverkhyi of Rigsdale House, Rigsdale, Ballinhassig has been jailed. Image Dan Linehan

Bohdan Bezverkhyi, of Rigsdale House, Rigsdale, Ballinhassig, Co Cork, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of dangerous driving which caused the death of Mr Palmer at Dunkereen Cross, Innishannon, Co Cork, on December 29, 2022.

Mr Palmer was fatally injured when his car ended up overturned on an embankment at the junction near his home, after colliding with the defendant’s car, who was then driven from the scene.

The seven women and five men who deliberated for approximately five hours returned to Cork Circuit Criminal Court on April 18 with their unanimous guilty verdict on what was the seventh day of the trial.