Tuesday 26 September 2017

Mother who lost family in police chase welcomes UK changes

Elber, Con and Oisin Twomey.
Elber, Con and Oisin Twomey.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A TEACHER who lost her entire family to a suicidal taxi driver has expressed relief at a UK police force's decision to amend its pursuit tactics.

Elber Twomey (37) told the Irish Independent she was determined to ensure no other family suffered such an appalling loss.

The north Cork woman lost her son, Oisin (16 months) and her unborn baby girl, Elber Marie, in a head-on collision in Torquay, Devon, on July 6, 2012.

Polish taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski (26) deliberately crashed into their car. Mr Wojciechowski had left a suicide note and circled a busy dual-carriageway 12 times before ramming the Twomey's car just seconds after a police constable had tried to pull him over.

Elber's husband, Con (38), died almost 10 months later from the injuries he sustained.

Only the most highly trained drivers in Devon and Cornwall police can now pursue motorists, the force has confirmed.

Mrs Twomey said: "I was on a mission. I wanted to see changes to police policies in the light of what happened that horrific day in Torquay. I am relieved and am truly grateful for the decision of Devon & Cornwall Police to change their procedures.

". . . Now, please God, other police forces will follow suit and put similar policies and training in place in the interest of public safety."

She said she had only been able to get through the terrible ordeal of the last 18 months with the support of family, neighbours, several priests and UK family liaison officers.

EMBRACED

In a moving gesture, she embraced Mr Wojciechowski's widow, Agnieszka, minutes after the Torquay inquest concluded.

The young Polish mother of two discovered her husband's suicide note explaining he could not cope with financial pressures and marital problems. He wrote that he loved his children.

"I didn't have a lot of forgiveness in my heart in the days and weeks after our crash. A marvellous priest friend said he would pray for Marek on my behalf every day until I would be able. I told him he would need to live a very long life," said Mrs Twomey.

"But then a few months later I found myself lighting candles and saying prayers for Marek and his family."

The Torquay inquest concluded on December 2. After the hearing, Mrs Twomey said police had been "completely wrong" in how they had handled Mr Wojciechowski, claiming their intervention had "panicked" him.

Irish Independent

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