Parents of girl (3) killed in crash ‘facing life sentence of pain and sorrow’
Senan O’Flaherty (63) pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention
Estlin Wall, pictured above with her parents, was fatally injured in a road crash moments after truck driver, Senan O’Flaherty made ‘a bad move’ to pull out from behind a bus, the court had heard.
The mother of three-year-old Estlin Wall has told the driver who caused the fatal collision that claimed her daughter’s life that whatever sentence he receives “it will pale in comparison to the life sentence of pain and sorrow we have been given”.
In a victim impact statement delivered at Ennis Circuit Court on Thursday, Amy Wall said “Estlin pays the highest price, sentenced to death that day with no chance of survival”.
Father-of-two Senan O’Flaherty (63) of Lower Gowerhass, Cooraclare has pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention causing the death of Estlin Wall and serious bodily harm to Vincent Wall at Ballyea South, Inagh on March 15th 2017.
Judge Gerald Keys said on Thursday he would reserve judgment and counsel for the State Lorcan Connolly BL asked the judge to pronounce sentence before May as the Walls were expecting their third child in May.
Estlin was fatally injured in a road crash moments after truck driver, Mr O’Flaherty made “a bad move” to pull out from behind a bus, the court had heard.
At around 9am on March 15th, 2017, Vincent Wall (41) was driving his daughter Estlin to creche in Inagh from their home in Ennistymon, north Clare.
Mr Wall suffered a severe and significant brain injury as a result of the crash, has no recollection of the accident and was placed in an induced coma after the crash and missed Estlin’s funeral.
In court on Thursday both parents took just under an hour to read out their victim impact statements.
In her statement, Ms Wall addressed Mr O’Flaherty but not by name when she said: “You put out her light, but I vow to carry her torch forever.
“Not a day will pass that I will not ache for her. But a mother’s love can never die and it is that love that will carry me forward every day.”
‘Beautiful little girl’
She described her daughter as “a beautiful little girl that never made it to her fourth birthday” who was “buried by the sea days before she should have been blowing candles out on a cake”.
“In the end, it makes no difference whether the courts say you were driving dangerously or carelessly or negligently or stupid. Estlin will always be dead. Vinnie will live with the effects of a brain injury for the rest of his life. Our children will never know Estlin, but we will talk about her every day.”
In his victim impact statement, Vincent ‘Vinny’ Wall said he would trade places with Estlin if he could.
“I wish there were time machines, replay buttons or dreams come true but there are none of these things. I try to do things that make me happy but things are different now, happiness s out of reach.
“I’m in a fog that won’t lift now. It’s dark and I’m drifting through the seasons. There are some tranquil days and some stormy days that could swallow me.”
Mr Wall stated that he remained in hospital and didn’t know why he was there.
When he was finally told by family and doctors that Estlin had died, Mr Wall said he couldn’t understand the words.
“Death of a child is a worst nightmare. Death of a child when you can’t grasp the importance is a worst, worst nightmare.”
Counsel for Mr O’Flaherty, Mr Collins said there were no aggravating factors on his client’s part.
He stated that there no speed, no recklessness and no drink driving involved.
“Whatever sentence will not right the wrongs and may facilitate part of the recovery and no sentence can turn back the clock.”
He added: “The consequences of this accident and Mr O’Flaherty’s role in it are profound and will continue to be profound. Life taking and life changing and nothing I can say can change that.”
Judge Keys adjourned the case to next Monday for mention only.