A MAN who killed a 'generous and caring' father after striking him with a car has today been jailed for life.
William McDonagh, 53, of Verulam Gardens, Luton, Bedfordshire was found guilty of murder following a two-week trial at Luton Crown Court in December.
He must serve a minimum of 16 years before he can be considered for parole.
He also received a further eight-year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving, to be served concurrently, and was disqualified from driving for 36 years.
The family of his victim, 60-year-old Robert Duggan, have said he was beloved by friends and family on both sides of the Irish Sea and that his death 'has left a gap… that will never be filled'.
'A character like no other'
"I cannot put into words how devastating that day was for me and my family," said Mr Duggan's daughter, Karen, who was with her father when he died.
"My dad was kind, generous and caring.
"He was a lovely man and his death has left a large hole in my life which cannot be filled."
Meanwhile, Mr Duggan's sister, Tina, said he had 'a heart of gold'.
"Robert was a character like no other, loved by his family and so many friends in Luton and Cork, Ireland alike," she said.
"To say Robert had a heart of gold would be underestimating how kind and thoughtful he was.
"His passing has left a gap in the lives of us, his family, that will never be filled and a gap we would never want to fill."
The incident happened on June 11, 2022 after McDonagh was heard banging on the windows and door of Mr Duggan's flat, where his daughter was also present.
McDonagh claimed that he was owed money and tried to force his way into the address.
An altercation took place before McDonagh left the property and went to the local shop, where he was seen on CCTV purchasing a bottle of whisky and cigarettes.
A short while later, he returned to the flat with the bottle of whisky in his hand and started banging on the windows again.
A brick was then used to smash the living room window.
Both Mr Duggan and his daughter headed outside to see McDonagh walking away.
As they made their way back to the property, a black car turned into Axe Close and drove straight at them.
Mr Duggan's daughter managed to push her father out of the way, but the car headed towards them again and struck Mr Duggan.
He died from his injuries shortly after paramedics arrived.
CCTV enquires were able to recognise the number plate of the vehicle and a search began.
A car matching the description was located a few streets away on a cloned number plate, which led to the arrest of McDonagh later that evening and he was subsequently charged with murder.
"I am glad that McDonagh's sentence reflects the severity of his crime in which a man lost his life over something so insignificant," said Detective Inspector Iain Macpherson.
"McDonagh initially pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of causing death by dangerous driving, but the jury didn't accept this, and he was rightly found guilty of murder.
"My thoughts have been with Mr Duggan's family throughout and I hope that today's result gives them some justice."