‘I lost my only son. Now I see everything as being over’

Mother settles case against driver who killed her son in hit-and-run

Shane O’ Farrell,  who died in a hit-and-run  outside Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan on August 2nd, 2011. Photograph: Collins Courts

Shane O’ Farrell, who died in a hit-and-run outside Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan on August 2nd, 2011. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A mother who sued for nervous shock after her son died following a hit-and-run in Co Monaghan has settled her High Court action.

Law student Shane O’Farrell (23), was cycling on the N2 road between Carrickmacross and Castleblaney on August 2nd, 2011 when his bicyle was struck by a car sometime after 10pm.

He had just handed in his dissertation for a Masters degree in law at Trinity College, Dublin and was training for a triathlon.

His mother Lucia, with an address at Carrickmacross, sued the driver of the car, Zigimantas Gridzuiska (39), a Lithuanian national, for nervous shock as a result of the incident.

She told Mr Justice Raymond Fullam joy has gone out of her life since her son died.

“I relive every minute of the day that it happened. I will never move on. My life is over,” she said.

The 57-year old mother of three said she had a special bond with her only son and has not changed anything in his room since his death.

“His laptop is where he left it; his jeans that he took off still on the bed. The guitar gathers dust. I have not touched anything in his room, you think, maybe, he could just come back,” she aids.

“My son is dead and is not coming home. I lost my only son. Now I see everything as being over. There is no fixing it.”

Mrs O’Farrell said she had to give up her job as a psychiatric nurse due to ill health and became quite isolated. She did not want to go out or meet anyone or encounter Mr Griduiska who was on bail on charges relating to the crash.

Mr Gridzuiska, who lived in Carrickmacross at the time, later received a suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of eight months on condition he leave Ireland.

Pleaded guilty

He had pleaded guilty to failing to stop his car at the scene of a crash at Tollyvara Upper, Carrickmacross on August 2nd, 2011, failing to keep the car near the scene and failing to report the incident as soon as possible to gardaí.

A jury was directed by Judge Patrick McCartan to find him not guilty of dangerous driving causing death as there was no evidence to support the charge.

Judge McCartan described the death of Shane O’Farrell as a tragic accident.

When imposing sentence, Judge McCartan said Mr Gridzuiska was a “massive liability” who “offers nothing to the community”. Mr Gridzuiska entered into a bond to stay out of the country for 10 years or face going to prison and was also banned from driving here for 10 years.

In her High Court action, Lucia O’Farrell sued for nervous shock claiming, since the accident, she has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and a severe grief reaction including flashbacks and nightmares.

On Wednesday, her counsel Gabriel Gavigan SC said the case had settled and could be struck out. The terms of settlement are confidential.

Anthony Kidney SC, for Mr Gridzuiska, said the defendant’s legal team empathised and sympathised with the O’Farrells and had defended the case on the instruction of the insurer.

Mr Justice Fullam said it was in everyone’s best interests the case had settled and he hoped, with the trauma of the litigation, both criminal and civil, behind them, the family can face the future together and live with their great loss.