Irish News

Thursday 21 August 2014

Grieving dad left 'sickened' by €1,340 fine for road killer

Dave Kenny, Cormac McQuinn and Kim Vangkilde

Published 25/10/2013 | 02:00

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Maria O'Shea with her sons Soren (11) and Connor (3). Soren and Connor were killed in a horror crash in Denmark.
Lasse Burholt (39) was found guilty in a Danish court.
Lasse Burholt (39) was found guilty in a Danish court.

THE Irish father of three children who died in a horror car crash in Denmark has said he has been left "sickened" by the €1,340 fine handed down to their killer.

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Dubliner Brian O'Shea described the fine and three-year conditional driving suspension received by Danish man Lasse Burholt (39) as "absolutely outrageous".

Burholt was driving at 125kmh in an 80kmh zone when he collided with a car driven by the children's mother Maria O'Shea, killing Soren (11), Saoirse (9) and Connor (3).

Maria miraculously survived the crash, along with nine-month-old baby Torben.

Burholt walked free from court yesterday after being handed down a 10,000KR (€1,340) fine and will be allowed on the road again once he passes a driving test. He was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

There will be a three-year probationary period on his licence.

Maria bravely read out a statement on the steps of the court after the verdict. She said: "It is hard to say anything positive or adequate" about the Danish legal system.

"We've lost three children," she said. "Soren, Saoirse and Connor were violently taken from us that day in July. They were 11, nine and three years and a world of opportunities and dreams were turned off for all eternity."

Brian O'Shea described the sentence handed down as "unbelievable". He told the Irish Independent: "He has been given a 10,000KR fine for causing the deaths of our children.

"It's absolutely outrageous and doesn't begin to correspond with his actions.

"The suspension is conditional on him not being caught doing anything else wrong on the road. I hope he finds that no insurer will take him on after this. I also hope that people in Denmark do not have the bad luck of finding themselves on the same road as him."

He said of Maria: "She was absolutely amazing. The kids would have been so proud of her. The judge had tears in his eyes after hearing her statement.

"I feel vindicated by the fact that Burholt has been found guilty. However, the penalty really sickens me.

"He should have been leaving court in a Paddy Wagon after what he did.

"It's a classic Pyrrhic victory."

Brian wasn't in the Citroen Berlingo car when the accident occurred near Sindal, North Jutland, in July.

Maria was driving and was taking a left turn when Burholt's vehicle slammed into the side of her car while he was travelling 45kmh over the speed limit.

The family are related to celebrity chef Kevin Dundon who is married to Brian's sister, Catherine.

CUSTODIAL

Deputy chief prosecutor in Jutland, Torben Kauffmann Sorensen, told the Irish Independent that a custodial sentence was not sought as fines were the standard sentence in cases of this type in Denmark.

He said that Burholt has 14 days to appeal the verdict.

Mr Sorensen said that though police found that Burholt's speeding was "the main cause of the accident" prosecutors had to take into account the left turn taken by Maria.

Her husband Brian has previously described police claims that Maria broke traffic regulations as "galling".

He told the 'Sunday Independent' in September: "They say that even if Burholt was driving too fast, the traffic code maintains that she should have held back before making the turn.

"It's a farce.

"Why should she have held back? She slowed down to make a left turn and reviewed the road in front of her.

"It was clear, so she made her turn."

Irish Independent

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