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Portadown student admits causing girlfriend’s death by careless driving

Rachael Lowry

A Co Armagh student today admitted causing his teenage girlfriend’s death by careless driving.

Appearing in the dock of Newry Crown Court on Monday, smartly dressed in a dark suit, shirt and tie, 21-year-old Zane Brown entered a not guilty plea to causing the death of Rachel Lowry by dangerous driving but guilty to causing her death by careless driving.

With the grieving family of Miss Lowry watching proceedings by videolink, prosecuting KC Mark Mulholland told the court he had taken instructions “on that specific plea and that is acceptable”.

A talented and award winning drum major with Quinn Memorial Pipe Band, 17-year-old Miss Lowry was the passenger in Brown’s Ford Fiesta car when it was involved in a single vehicle road traffic collision at around 1pm on the Coolmillish Road in Markethill on September 24, 2020.

Following the confession of guilt, defence KC John Orr asked for sentencing to be adjourned to allow for the preparation of a pre-sentence probation report and for Brown, from Dorchester drive in Portadown, to be granted bail in the meantime.

While Judge Gordon Kerr KC granted both applications and adjourned the case to June 19 for sentence, he told the court that Brown “must be warned that the fact that he is on bail is no indication to what the court may do when it comes to sentence.”

Following her death, Ms Lowry’s family expressed their heartfelt grief at the tragic and sudden loss of Rachael, who was “especially special to the entire family circle”.

They said: “Rachael had grown into a beautiful young 17 year old girl with great gifts in music and creativity.

“The family were so proud of Rachael when in 2017 she won the Junior World Drum Major Championship, and again in 2019 when she was runner-up in the Juvenile World Drum Major competition.

“With excellent GCSE results this year and beginning a Health and Social Care course at the SRC in Armagh, Rachael had a bright future ahead of her however the family’s joy in Rachael’s achievements were turned into tears of overwhelming grief yesterday afternoon.

“The family would like to express their sincerest thanks to PSNI, Air Ambulance and neighbours at the scene who all cared for Rachael.

“The family would request privacy as they mourn Rachael’s passing and try to come to terms with such a great loss to their family that will affect every part of their lives.”

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