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Sunday 31 August 2014

Wife of Polish driver who killed Irish family in taxi crash suicide blames herself for tragedy

Ralph Riegel

Published 19/11/2013 | 02:00

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Suicidal taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski
Con and Elber Twomey on their wedding day
16-month-old Oisin Twomey

THE wife of a Polish taxi driver who drove into the car of an Irish family holidaying in the UK, killing three of them, has said that she blames herself for the tragedy.

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The heartbroken Cork-based family said they are still trying to come to terms with the car crash in Devon, England, on July 6, 2012.

An inquest yesterday heard of father-of-two Marek Wojciechowski's final movements before he smashed into the car of the Twomey family.

Wojciechowski wrote a four-page suicide note just minutes before the head-on collision.

His wife, Agnieszka Wojciechowski, said she blamed herself as her husband couldn't cope with their separation, following repeated arguments and mounting financial problems.

Last May, Con Twomey (39) died 10 months after suffering horrific injuries when his family's Volkswagen Golf was hit by Mr Wojciechowski (26) outside Torquay.

Con, a talented hurler for Meelin GAA club in Co Cork, died after failing to recover from head, neck and chest injuries sustained in the crash while on holiday with his wife, Elber (37), child and unborn baby.

The family had chosen a driving holiday in the UK, thinking it would be safer for Elber – who was pregnant at the time – than flying to a sun destination.

Elber is now the only survivor of the horrific collision.

The couple's child, Oisin (16 months), died shortly after the collision.

Elber's unborn child, Elber Marie, could not be saved despite emergency surgery in Derriford Hospital outside Plymouth. She was due to have been born last December.

Elber, a highly respected teacher in north Cork, suffered severe back and pelvic injuries in the crash and it was several weeks before she could be told of the enormous tragedy.

Her injuries were so severe she has been unable to return to work as a teacher in a Newmarket school.

Relatives said the family remain "absolutely heartbroken" over the tragedy.

A Devon inquest yesterday heard that Mr Wojciechowski had left a four-page suicide note.

In an interview with Devon police after the collision, his distraught wife said she felt responsible. Mrs Wojciechowski told police her husband was not handling his problems.

"Marek wasn't coping well. He didn't kill himself. I killed him. I took hope away from him. I took everything away from him," she said.

The couple agreed to separate after a series of arguments and mounting financial problems.

When Mrs Wojciechowski found the suicide note on July 6, she immediately contacted a friend. Police were then notified.

Acquaintances of the couple didn't realise their problems were so bad or that Mr Wojciechowski was so upset.

The couple both worked at the Toorak Hotel in Torquay, Marek as a kitchen porter and chef, and Agnieszka as a housekeeper.

TAXI

Mr Wojciechowski had only started driving a taxi three weeks before the fatal collision.

The Twomey family were on the final day of their UK holiday when Mr Wojciechowski drove into their car at 2.47pm on Hamelin Way outside Torquay.

A Hamelin Way fund was set up by people in Torbay and raised more than €5,000 (£3,600).

A jury of 10 people were sworn in by coroner Ian Arrow at the inquest which is expected to last a week.

The two inquests that opened are into the deaths of Oisin Twomey and Marek Wojciechowski.

Irish Independent

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