Tuesday 27 September 2016

Grieving mother's powerful victim impact statement: 'What started out as an evening with Vanessa in Phoenix Park to meet friends and pick flowers ended in a nightmare'

Alison O'Riordan

Published 19/04/2016 | 16:47

Vanessa Siatka (22 months).
Vanessa Siatka (22 months).

My name is Katarzyna Plaszewska Siatka. My family and friends all know me as Kasia. I am Vanessa Siatka’s mammy. I want to make this statement on behalf of my husband, Lukasz Siatka, and myself.

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When we became pregnant with our baby Vanessa, it was like a present from God. We were so happy as parents to be having a baby together. We began to plan our future together with our baby.

Vanessa was born on the 11th of May, 2013. That was the best day of our lives. The moment we saw Vanessa, we fell in love with her. Every single day Vanessa gave us her love; her smile; and the strength and enthusiasm to exist every day.

 Vanessa made our lives complete. Vanessa was just perfect, with beautiful blue eyes, a perfect pretty face, she was just perfect. She looked just like her Daddy. Every day with Vanessa was new; we watched her learn new things; we taught her new things; and we learned from her too. We watched Vanessa’s personality develop.

We taught her about life; new words; new lessons every day. Vanessa was very clever, a very quick learner. Our life centered around Vanessa. Everything myself and Lukasz did in our lives was for Vanessa; was for her future.

We moved to our new home late in 2014. December that year was our first Christmas together in our new home. We picked our new home with Vanessa in mind; with our family in mind; with our future in mind.

Vanessa had her own bedroom. I remember how excited she was about moving to our new home; having her own bedroom and a new bed. Lukasz and I had lived in Ireland for over 12 years; we had made Ireland our home and we made our home here in Dublin for our family’s future.

We had a very happy home and a very happy life. We always had a very open home. We have a large circle of friends, who also have young children. They would come to visit us and we would go to visit them in their homes. Vanessa made so many new friends.

She loved to go to her friends homes for parties and special occasions and they also came to us. Vanessa was a very happy and active child. She loved to go swimming; to the park or playground; or to the activity centre to play with other children.

Vanessa was a very sociable and friendly child. She would introduce herself to other children and play with them. Even children she had never met before. Every day we thought of new things to do; new surprises; new activities for Vanessa and for all of us as a family. Every day was fulfilled with activity and happiness for all of us.

We travelled a lot with Vanessa, we travelled around Ireland to show her new things; scenery; we brought her to see the mountains and the sea. We travelled to Poland with Vanessa and she met all of her family in Poland. She had a wonderful time meeting everyone.

On Easter Sunday, 2015, we had a gathering in our home with family and friends to celebrate Easter. It was a sunny nice day. Easter Monday was another beautiful sunny day in Dublin but we could never have imagined what would happen that evening.

What started out as a plan to spend my evening with Vanessa in the Phoenix Park to meet friends, play and pick flowers; ended in a nightmare. In one moment we were happy, playing and enjoying ourselves in the park; in the next moment I hear the loud music, a loud engine and everything just happened so quickly; I couldn’t do anything only watch as my baby was taken away from me. For me that was the moment time and my heart stopped.

The moment the car hit Vanessa it not only swept her away physically, it also took her away from us. Although we know the paramedics and staff at Temple Street tried to save Vanessa, it was at this moment our child was taken from us. All I could do was run to my baby.

I spoke to her; I told her I loved her and everything would be ok, Daddy was on the way. I prayed for her but as she lay on the road a small tear came from her eye and I knew in my heart that this was her last ‘Goodbye Mammy’.

Our hearts were shattered, Lukasz and I. Life stopped. We did not know how to exist; how to sleep; how to eat; how to wake up. Every day is a nightmare; even to breathe was difficult. I still have nightmares about the accident, they never go away.

Without Vanessa we will never be the same; never as happy as we were. Vanessa’s room is empty; our home is empty; our lives are empty. For the rest of our lives every day will be a challenge. Our hearts will always be broken because a part of both of us died with Vanessa, People keep telling us –time is a healer-it’s not. Our life now is empty.

We visit Vanessa’s grave every day to pray; to talk to her; and to be there with her. What else can we do? Vanessa will always be in our memories but we can never see her or hold her again. Only our faith and our love and our angel Vanessa looking over us, helps us to exist.

We would like to express our thanks for the support of our friends and family; the medical staff at Temple Street Hospital; and all the members of the Garda Siochana involved in this investigation.

We thank our community, the Irish public and everyone who offered condolences, support and prayers.

We would like to offer special thanks to our Family Liaison Officer, Sergeant Niall Phelan. We hope that Vanessa’s death will be a strong message to everyone to never ever drink or take drugs when driving.

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