Sunday 25 September 2016

'She should have been celebrating her second birthday today' - inquest into death of toddler opens

Gareth Naughton

Published 11/05/2015 | 14:42

Venessa Siatka
Venessa Siatka
Tragic Venessa Siatka
Little Venessa Siatka
Venessa Siatka

The father of a toddler who was fatally injured in a hit-and-run accident gave evidence as the inquest into her death opened on what should have been her second birthday.

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Venessa Siatka, of Brandon Square, Waterville in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, suffered severe head injuries in the incident in the Phoenix Park on April 6 this year. She was twenty-three months old at the time. She died in the early hours of the following morning at Temple Street Hospital.

She had been enjoying an evening in the park with her mother and friends on Easter Monday when the accident happened. She was struck by the car, which failed to stop, at around 6.25pm on the North Road near the Ashtown gate. A car is believed to have been seen travelling erratically in the area prior to the crash. A 24-year-old man handed himself in for questioning following the incident and was later released without charge.

The opening of the inquest at Dublin Coroner’s Court heard gardaí are currently preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in relation to the incident.

Venessa’s father Lukasz Siatka attended the brief hearing alone with her mother remaining outside the courtroom. He took to the witness stand to give evidence that following his daughter's death at Temple Street Children’s Hospital, he identified her body to Garda Niall Phelan of Blanchardstown Garda Station.

Mr Siatka told the coroner that his daughter, who was an only child, should have been celebrating her second birthday today.

Detective Inspector Colm Murphy said Gardaí are still conducting a criminal investigation into Venessa’s death and a file is currently being prepared for submission to DPP. He requested a six month adjournment of the inquest to allow time for gardaí to continue with their investigation.

The post-mortem was carried out by acting deputy state pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan on the day of Venessa’s death. Coroner Dr Brian Farrell warned Mr Siatka that the cause of death is “quite upsetting”. He said that her preliminary report finds that Venessa died from “severe head injuries”.

Offering his sympathies to the family, Dr Farrell told Mr Siatka that he is aware of some of the circumstances of the death but cannot comment while the Garda investigation is still ongoing.

The inquest was adjourned for further mention on November 6.

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