Sunday 25 September 2016

‘Seeing her laid out in the coffin in her communion dress was horrible’ – Mother of tragic Zoe (8)

Published 14/05/2015 | 11:00

Zoe Scannell (8) in her communion dress, and with her mum Alisha Scannell, both of Bogmount, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick.
Zoe died in a car crash yesterday (Thur) near Clonakilty, Cork, and her mum is in a critical condition in Cork University Hospital.
June 27, 2014
Zoe Scannell (8) in her communion dress, and with her mum Alisha Scannell, both of Bogmount, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick. Zoe died in a car crash yesterday (Thur) near Clonakilty, Cork, and her mum is in a critical condition in Cork University Hospital. June 27, 2014
Zoe Scannell (8) in her recent first holy communion clothes
Alisha Scannell, mother of Zoe
Zoe Scannell in her Communion dress

Elisha Scannell, the mother of tragic Zoe Scannell (8), has spoken of the aftermath of the car crash which killed her only daughter – and her decision to forgive the driver of the car.

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The fatal accident happened at Owenachincha Cross, Rosscarbery, west Cork at around 3pm on Thursday, June 26 last year.

She told Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio One that the last time she saw Zoe was when she was being worked on at the accident scene.

“I had seen them working on Zoe on the side of the road, and then the ambulance came to take me to hospital.”

She said that even though no one would initially tell her about Zoe’s condition, she knew she had lost her only child – as she could feel her presence around her.

She said that after waking up from an operation, she told a nurse she knew Zoe was gone.

“I turned to the nurse and said ‘it’s ok, I know my baby’s gone’.”

Initially she didn’t want to see Zoe’s body.

“I couldn’t face seeing her like that. I didn’t think I wanted to see her like that. I couldn’t imagine her inside in a morgue, inside in a strange place.

“I think I didn’t want to face the reality of it.

“Every time I dosed off she was right beside me. I was happy with her presence there. I didn’t need to see her laid out.

However she eventually decided to see Zoe, to help her come to terms with the death.

“They managed to get me discharged after 11 days, they wanted to keep me longer.

“I went to see her in a funeral home.

“It was one of the horrible things, seeing her inside, laid out in her communion dress in the coffin.

She also spoke about the moment she came face-to-face with the driver of the car that killed her daughter, and how she found the strength to forgive him.

She only met Ian Lawlor O’Donovan (18) for the first time in court three weeks ago.

“I had never seen him, I had never seen what he looked like.

“He walked past me, and I started crying. He was just a child. He looked a child, he was so young and so vulnerable, his heart was broken just as much as ours was.

“It gave me peace that he felt such remorse and he felt such as bad as we did.”

“The two of us were just alone inside in a room together. He said he was sorry, I said ‘I forgive you’, and Zoe forgives you.

“I didn’t want him to go to jail, he did nothing wrong, it was just a mistake. I passed him on one of Zoe’s loom bands.

“He thinks about Zoe all the time.

“I hope he can get on with his life now, because he’s only a child.”

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