William Conway gets 6-1/2 years in death of Veronica Doyle

Daughters of Veronica Doyle wept in court Tuesday as a judge sentenced the man responsible for her death to six-and-a-half years in prison.
William Conway has been sentenced to 6-1/2 years in prison in the death of his girlfriend, Veronica Doyle. (CBC)

Daughters of Veronica Doyle wept in court Tuesday as a judge sentenced the man responsible for her death to six-and-a-half years in prison.

In May, William Conway admitted he accidentally ran over and killed Doyle, his girlfriend, on Firdale Drive in Airport Heights in the early-morning hours of Oct. 24, 2013.

Last month, Conway, 50, pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death.

One of Veronica Doyle's daughters displays a photo of her late mother in provincial court. (CBC)
On Tuesday, Doyle's two daughters said the punishment wasn't enough.

"We're not satisfied with it, but no amount of time is going to bring mom back," said Lee Doyle. "But it just really sucks that in five and a half years his family will have him back and we will never have mom back."

Judge Mark Linehan noted "no jail sentence can possibly compensate the victims for their loss," adding Conway will not be allowed to drive for 12 years after his release.

He could, however, be eligible for parole after serving a third of his sentence.

In an agreed statement of facts, Conway said he and Doyle, 57, had been drinking and taking pills the night of her death.

Read the full agreed statement of facts

He said he left their apartment after they got into an argument, and that Doyle followed him outside.

According to Conway, Doyle was clinging to the side of his truck as he drove away, but she dropped out of sight. He said he turned his vehicle around, thinking Doyle had gone back inside the apartment.

He said that's when he felt two quick thumps as he unknowingly drove over Doyle.

In the agreed facts, Conway stated he went into shock after he got out of his truck and saw her on the road. He said he panicked and fled the scene, not knowing if Doyle was dead or alive.

Crown prosecutor Jeff Summers said if Conway had obeyed his court orders not to drink and drive, and to stay away from Doyle, she might still be alive today.

Summers also said Conway "callously" left Doyle in the street without trying to help or calling 911.

He had sought a sentence of eight to 10 years, while defence lawyer Michelle Coady said four to six years would be more appropriate.

Coady said the incident was a short-lived error in judgment, and while there is severe hurt for the family, vengeance should not be part of sentencing.

According to Coady, Conway has been warning other inmates at Her Majesty's Penitentiary about the perils of drinking and driving. He has two previous convictions for impaired driving.