Grieving mother forgives truck driver who killed her son

Suspended sentence for man whose lapse of concentration led to tragedy in west Cork

A grieving mother told a truck driver who killed her son that she hoped he never experiences the death of one of his own children – before telling him she forgived him because that’s what her dead son would have wanted.

Celeste Corrigan said her life has been changed forever by the death of her son, Brian Fahy (24). Ivan Gochev was driving a truck when he struck a car being driven by Mr Fahy's partner, Joanne Walsh, in west Cork on May 25th, 2016.

“Mr Gochev, I hope you will never have to experience the death of one of your children as the loss is insurmountable. By driving the way you did, on that fateful summer’s day, you killed my beautiful son,” said Ms Corrigan as she fought back the tears to read her victim impact statement.

“Brian would never want anyone to suffer and would always give someone the benefit of the doubt. I am sure my son has forgiven you and so, I take my lead from him. I struggle to forgive you for what you have done and because of your driving that day, I struggle to accept my beautiful boy is dead.”


“As Brian’s mother, whose job it was to give him life and keep him safe, I struggle with the fact that I turned off his life support machine. I will never get over his death and I live every day with an ache in my heart in the knowledge my precious son will never be coming home.”


Defence counsel, Alice Fawsett SC put it to Ms Corrigan that father of two Gochev had apologised in person to her prior to the court case for causing the death of her son and Ms Corrigan acknowledged he had and she accepted his apology.

Gochev, who was driving for Kilkenny haulage firm, Walton Transport, had earlier pleaded guilty before Judge Gerard O'Brien at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to careless driving causing the death of Mr Fahy at Lisnacunna, Enniskeane, Co Cork, on May 25th, 2016.

Garda Padraig Collins told how Gochev was driving west at around 5.10pm when his truck veered off the roadway momentarily onto the grass margin about eight inches below the level of the road and he overcompensated to get it back on to the carriageway.

His truck veered and collided with the Nissan Micra, driven by Ms Walsh, coming in the opposite direction. She and Mr Fahy were seriously injured and taken to Cork University Hospital where Mr Fahy died two days later.

Garda Collins said that Gochev’s tachograph showed he was travelling at 64kph at the time, he had driven 104 kms that day, which was well within the permitted limits, he had taken the appropriate rest periods and upon being breathalysed, was found to have no traces of alcohol in his system.

Physical injuries

Mr Fahy’s fiancée, Joanne Walsh told how she had suffered extensive physical injuries including a fracture hip and endured months of pain as a consequence while she also had to deal with the psychological scars of losing her love and best friend with whom she had been together for more than four years.

“I never imagined this for us – instead of choosing a wedding venue, I was being wheeled into a funeral home to pick out a coffin. The loss of Brian has had so many impacts . . . It has turned the usual happy times such as birthdays and Christmas into painful times . . . life has little joy now.

Judge O’Brien said the victim impact statements by Ms Corrigan and Ms Walsh were both striking and he extended his condolences to them on their loss. He said he had to look at the facts of the case including that there no aggravating factors such as drink or speed involved.

The crash was caused by a momentary lapse of concentration on the part of Gochev who had no previous convictions and was genuinely remorseful, said Judge O’Brien, as he imposed a six months suspended term with no driving ban before commending Ms Corrigan for her generosity in forgiving him.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times