Tribute paid to woman who lost family in Devon road crash

Elber Twomey has shown ‘great dignity and courage’ following deaths, inquest hears

Elber Twomey thanked the ‘politicians, charities, the media and ordinary Irish and British people’ who have supported her campaign for road safety in a statement following the inquest into her husband’s death in Cork today. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

Elber Twomey thanked the ‘politicians, charities, the media and ordinary Irish and British people’ who have supported her campaign for road safety in a statement following the inquest into her husband’s death in Cork today. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

Fri, May 23, 2014, 15:30

A warm tribute has been paid by a coroner to a woman for her campaigning work to increase awareness of suicide risk after she lost entire family when a suicide driver ploughed into their car while they were on holiday in the UK.

Cork City coroner Dr Myra Cullinane expressed her admiration for teacher Elber Twomey (37) from Meelin in North Cork who lost her 16-month-old son, Oisin, her unborn baby Elber Marie and her husband, Con in the horrific car crash in Devon in the summer of 2012.

The tragedy happened when Polish man Marek Wojciechowski (26) drove onto the wrong side of the road and crashed into the Twomey family car after police signalled to him to stop upon discovering he had left a suicide note.

After a jury in Cork returned a narrative verdict at an inquest into the death of Con Twomey (39) who died at Cork University Hospital on May 3rd 2013, Dr Cullinane said she wished to place on record her deepest condolences to Ms Twomey on her loss.

“People have been aware and greatly moved by the unspeakable tragedy you have suffered and the loss of your beautiful Oisin, your husband Con and your unborn daughter, Elber Marie,” said Dr Cullinane.

“You have shown great dignity and courage in dealing with your loss and I wish to commend you on your selfless work in the area of suicide risk awareness to ensure that no other family has to go the dreadful experience that you have gone through.”

Dr Cullinane wished Ms Twomey well in particular with a planned “remorial” for her family on the weekend of June 6th to 8th where she hopes to raise €50,000 for suicide prevention charities including Suicide Aware Cork, Inspire Ireland, 3Ts and Pieta House.

Today’s inquest heard how the Twomey family were on the last day of a holiday in Devon and were driving to catch a ferry back to Ireland when Polish taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski deliberately rammed their VW Golf on Hamelin Way near Torquay.

Dr Cullinane read out details of an inquest into the deaths of Oisin and Mr Wojciechowski held by Torbay and South Deven coroner Ian Arrow in November 2013 to assist the Cork jury return a verdict in Mr Twomey’s inquest.

She told how at 2.23pm on July 6th 2012, police in Devon issued a communication to all units that Mr Wojciechowski was a high risk missing person. Eleven minutes later, they issued a second communication that he was suicidal after the discovery of a suicide note.