Boy (3) was sitting on his father’s lap before fatal Limerick crash
Inquest returned verdict of unlawful killing in case of child’s death and suicide in case of father
The bodies of the father and son Marco Velocci (28) and Alex Velocci (3) were discovered on the N24 just outside the village of Oola after their car had smashed into a cement truck.
A three-year-old boy was seen on CCTV footage sitting on his father’s lap before their car veered into the path of an oncoming truck, in a head-on collision that killed the father and son instantly, Limerick Coroner’s Court has heard.
After hearing harrowing evidence of the fatal crash, which occurred on July 19th, 2016, a jury at the joint inquest returned a unanimous verdict of “unlawful killing” in respect of the death of three-year-old Alex Velocci. The jury reached a unanimous verdict of “suicide” in respect of the death of Alex’s father, Marco Velocci (28).
The boy’s mother Josephine Power, broke down as her deposition was read in court. She described, how, prior to taking their son in his car, her ex-partner, Mr Velocci, “attacked” her with a knife in her kitchen as she made them breakfast.
“I tried to push Marco back. I kept saying, ‘Marco, the kids, the kids’. Marco said nothing,” she said.
“I want to add Marco had the knife on my throat. He didn’t randomly try to stab me over the body. It was specific to my throat.”
She managed to break the knife in the ensuing struggle.
She said: “When I was on the ground Marco started hitting me on my head. I had no energy left.”
She added: “I do remember Alex saying Daddy, don’t hurt Mammy.”
Lying on the floor, Ms Power said she could only look on as Mr Velocci “walked away” with their young son.
The bodies of the father and son were discovered on the N24 just outside the village of Oola after their car had smashed into a cement truck.
Mother of two, Noelle Heffernan, from Dundrum, who had been in a relationship with Mr Velocci after he and Ms Power had split up, said in her deposition, that Mr Velocci told her he wanted to get back with Ms Power.
As his car drove along the N24 on the morning of the tragedy Mr Velocci telephoned Ms Heffernan, telling her he had stabbed Ms Power, the inquest heard.
“He said to get yourself and the kids into your car and go and kill yourself – it’s the only way [we] can all be together,” Ms Heffernan said.
She said she overheard Mr Velocci tell his son they were going to meet Alex’s pet dog Lucy, who died a few weeks beforehand.
“[Then] I heard a bang,” she said.
There were a number of warning signs relating to Mr Velocci’s behaviour, in the weeks and days leading up to the tragedy, the inquest heard.
The former labourer and qualified carpenter had suffered panic attacks. He told loved ones he believed Muslims were monitoring his phone calls and that Muslims planned to “poison” his family and “take over the world”.
Gardaí reports into the collision concluded Mr Velocci’s car “veered” across the N24 colliding head-on with a cement truck. The driver of the truck “did all he could” to avoid the collision, the court heard.
Coroner John McNamara described the case as “harrowing”.