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Family pay tribute to great-grandad killed by drink-driving nurse at Christmas after sentencing

A great-grandad who died on Boxing Day after being hit by a drink-driving nurse has been described as one-of-a-kind by his devastated family. Ron Fealey, 82, was walking home from the pub on December 24, 2022, when he was hit by a car while at a pedestrian crossing at Avenue De Clichy, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.

The driver, Katrina Mahoney, was more than twice the legal drink-drive limit and going 40mph in a 20mph zone when she hit Rob. She had been out to buy cigarettes and was overtaking another car, Wales Online reports.

Mahoney, 34, fled the scene with her teenage son in the passenger seat after hitting Ron in her Nissan Qashqai. She left him lying on the ground unconscious and bleeding, failing to call an ambulance.

After dropping her son off at home, Mahoney returned to the scene around 10 minutes later with a fellow nurse and spoke to officers. She told the officer: "That's my car, yes, you can see the damage that is done…He’s going to be on my ward. I’m a major trauma nurse.”

The officer could smell alcohol on her breath and asked her if she had been drinking. She said: “I had one Malibu and Bailey’s”.

Mahoney was jailed for five years
Mahoney was jailed for five years

Ron, who worked as a nurse himself, was admitted to hospital in critical condition, with numerous injuries including to his brain. He could not be saved and sadly died at the University Hospital of Wales on Boxing Day.

This week, Mahoney was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink, and drink-driving. She will serve half the sentence in custody before she is released on licence. She was also disqualified from driving for seven-and-a-half years.

Ron's devastated family are now hopeful they can grieve peacefully but say there are "no winners" in this situation. They remembered their beloved dad, husband, brother, granddad, great-granddad who took foster children to and run school after his retirement while also helping children read and write.

Son Mike Fealey, 60, said: "There are no winners. We’ve lost my father because of her decision, she’s now lost her liberty, her family have lost her, and so have her children for whatever period of time she’s going to be in prison.

"It’s been a bit of a living nightmare. Losing him on Christmas Day, as you can imagine, is pretty horrendous but then having this hanging over our heads, it just hasn’t allowed us to start the grieving process at all, so we are hopeful now that the whole family can start to grieve properly now this is done.

"My father was a larger-than-life bloke who was central to the whole of the family, and there’s just a huge hole there now. And not just the family, but the wider community: he was director at Dowlais RFC, the work that he did for the church and for St Illtyd’s School as well, it’s not just us who are going to miss him, there’s a huge hole in the community. I can’t see how we fill it.”

Ron Fealey with his grandson James (left) after becoming a great-grandfather
Ron Fealey with his grandson James (left) after becoming a great-grandfather

Granddaughter Rachael, 30, added: “He’s been ripped from us. It just seems like a nightmare. It doesn’t seem real. He would have been at my wedding, he would have met my son, he was really excited to meet him. It’s horrific and really hard to describe.

"It’s been a surreal nightmare. It’s not something we should have had to have dealt with. People can say that they’re sorry but it doesn’t take away what we’ve all had to go through in the past nine months.”

Pictured left to right: Mr Fealey's grandson James Fealey, son Mike Fealey and granddaughter Rachael Fealey
Pictured left to right: Mr Fealey's grandson James Fealey, son Mike Fealey and granddaughter Rachael Fealey

Mike continued: “I still struggle to accept that a qualified nurse knocked him down and drove off. My father carried his nursing values with him his whole life. He lived the code and professional standards to practise and behave as a nurse.

"The rugby club have lost a stalwart member, the church has lost a treasurer, the school has lost a person who taught children to read and write, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have lost a loved grandfather and I've lost a father because of one selfish individual who drove drunk with no thought for her own child or anyone who got in her way that Christmas Eve."

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