Man convicted over deaths of children in Danish crash
Custodial sentence not sought as man convicted of involuntary manslaughter
Maria O’Shea with her son Soren (11). Soren was killed in the crash in Denmark in July of this year, along with siblings Saoirse (9) and Conor (3).
Prosecutors in Denmark have defended the decision not to impose a custodial sentence on a man convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of three Irish children.
Lesse Burholt was fined 10,000 Danish kroner (€1,340) and had a three-year probationary period imposed on his driver’s licence after he crashed into a car being driven by Maria O’Shea, killing three of her children.
Brothers Soren (11), Saoirse (9) and Conor (3) died after the hired Citroen Berlingo in which they were travelling was hit by Burholt’s Mitsubishi Grandis near Sindal, North Jutland, Denmark, in July of this year.
Ms O’Shea and another son, Torben (4 months), survived relatively unscathed. The family, including Ms O’Shea’s husband, Brian - an Irish citizen - had been visiting Denmark from their home in Australia at the time. Mr O’Shea was not in the car at the time of the crash.
A court in Hjørring heard Burholt had been driving at over 120km/h in an 80km/h zone when he collided with Ms O’Shea’s car, which was turning left at the time. Local reports say the impact was so severe the Berlingo was almost broken in half.
Burholt accepted he had been driving above the speed limit but denied the charge of involuntary manslaughter.
The family expressed their disappointment outside the court at the sentence. In a statement, Ms O’Shea said it was “hard to say anything positive or adequate” about the Danish legal system.
Deputy chief prosecutor for Jutland, Torben Kauffman-Sorensen, said the prosecutor’s office had not sought a custodial sentence for Burholt.
“We’d only be talking about prison if the driver had been driving with drugs, alcohol, or if the kind of driving had been madly. In those cases we have prison, but else it’s only fines,” he told RTÉ News.