Sunday 25 June 2017

Speeding driver 'won't pay any compensation' over children's deaths

Maria and Brian O'Shea with surviving child Torben
Maria and Brian O'Shea with surviving child Torben
Driver Lasse Burholt
Saoirse
Maria with Soren and Connor
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

THE speeding driver of the car that killed three children in a horror car crash has said that he won't pay any compensation.

Driver Lasse Burholt hit a car containing Maria O'Shea and her four children on July 16 in North Jutland, Denmark.

Burholt was driving at 125kmh in an 80kmh zone when he collided with Maria's car, killing Soren (11), Saoirse (9) and Connor (3).

Maria survived along with nine-month-old baby, Torben, who suffered a fractured leg.

The family are related to celebrity chef Kevin Dundon.

Burholt walked free from a Danish court last week after being handed down a 10,000KR (€1,340) fine and will be allowed on the road again if he passes a driving test after three years.

But yesterday, he told the Irish Independent that he would not personally pay all the O'Sheas' demand for compensation.

"The O'Sheas want a total of 1.7 million DKR (€228,000) from me, of which 1.1 million DKR (€147,000) is compensation for loss of income.

"But I won't pay that from my own pocket – that is up to the insurance companies," said Burholt.

"Normally, it is insurance companies that handle claims. I will not pay because we both had insurance policies," he added. Burholt also said that although the fine he received in court last week for speeding was low, he had no control over it because it was the fine that was issued under Danish law. "The fine is based on Danish laws, and it is low compared to the loss of three children," he said.

Meanwhile, Maria O'Shea's husband Brian has said that police in Denmark were still claiming his wife was to blame for the crash, even though Burholt was found guilty of speeding.

CHALLENGE

Deputy chief prosecutor 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.

Mr Sorensen said that although 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.

Speaking yesterday, Brian O'Shea, who was not in the car when it crashed, challenged Danish police to charge her if they thought she was at fault.

"The police continue to maintain that Maria was to blame in the accident even though the other driver has been charged and convicted and found guilty in a court of law," he said.

"I have asked them to explain their position, and if she is guilty of something. I have suggested that they charge her and allow her to defend herself in a court of law," he said.

Mr O'Shea is also highly critical of the fine imposed on Burholt.

"It does seem somewhat light considering the circumstances and the results of his actions.

"It wasn't possible for the prosecutor to prove he was doing a higher speed. We are pretty sure he was.

"The only thing they could prove was the actual impact speed, which they gather at the site of an accident, and in this case, the software that they use came up with a speed of 125kmh as he torpedoed my wife's car," Mr O'Shea explained.

"The day after the crash, Maria was interviewed by police and charged with involuntary manslaughter.

"This was less than 24 hours after the accident where we lost three children," he said.

Mr O'Shea said that the main road Maria was turning onto was under reconstruction, so the traffic was diverted.

"Maria had to go down that diversion and make a left turn to go back to the route she was originally trying to go on," he said.

Irish Independent

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