Sunday 25 September 2016

Heartbroken mum of toddler killed in hit-and-run in Phoenix Park: 'I knew it was her last goodbye'

Distraught mum tells how her child was killed by driver who drank a litre of vodka

Alison O'Riordan

Published 20/04/2016 | 02:30

Vanessa Siatka, who was knocked down and killed just before her second birthday
Vanessa Siatka, who was knocked down and killed just before her second birthday
Ciaran Lane, who had drunk a bottle of vodka and taken cocaine

A mother told of the harrowing last "Goodbye, Mammy" as she held her dying daughter following a hit-and-run involving a driver who was high on cocaine and vodka.

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Toddler Vanessa Siatka was just 23 months old when she was knocked down in Dublin's Phoenix Park on April 6, 2015.

Vanessa and her mother were enjoying the spring sunshine with hundreds of other families when tragedy struck in the form of Ciaran Lane (25) from Ashington Avenue, Cabra.

Lane, who had drunk a litre of vodka and took two grams of cocaine, was yesterday jailed for five years.

Read More: Dangerous driver doing stunts before ploughing into toddler

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Vanessa Siatka.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the child's mother Katarzyna said at the time she couldn't do anything but watch as her "baby was taken away" from her.

"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.

"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 are 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," she said.

She told how she and husband Lukasz had cherished every moment with their baby, and planned their lives together down to the small details.

"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 May 11, 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 was very clever, a very quick learner. Our life centred around Vanessa. Everything myself and Lukasz did in our lives was for Vanessa; was for her future.

Excited

"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."

Recalling the fateful moment that Vanessa was struck by the car driven by Lane, she said: "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."

Irish Independent

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