Wednesday 21 February 2018

Doctor: ‘I tried to resuscitate baby Oisin... but he was clearly dead’

Doctor gives hearting breaking testimony at inquest of Twomey family killed in Devon car crash

Oisin Twomey
Oisin Twomey
Con and Elber Twomey on their wedding day
Suicidal taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski
Twomey family who were involved in Devon car crash Pictured is Elber and Connie Twomey with baby Oisin Pic supplied by Garda Press Office

A DOCTOR fought to resuscitate 16-month-old Oisin Twomey at the scene of car crash which claimed the lives of his father and unborn sister in Devon.

Dr Nigel Garbutt was one of the first at the scene of the crash in Devon where a Polish taxi driver drove into the car of an Irish family holidaying in the UK, killing three of them. He told how he tried to save little Oisin at the scene of the crash today.

 He gave mouth to mouth and tried to resuscitate Oisin:

 "I saw the child strapped in to a forward facing child safety seat.

 "A police officer was reaching over the crash barrier.

 "I managed to open a door to get access to the child.

 "The child was not breathing and not responsive.

 "At that point the child was clearly dead."

 Despite that diagnosis, doctors and paramedics fought for the next hour to try to resuscitate the little boy.

The inquest into the tragic crash has heard how suicidal taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski made 12 circuits of a man road before driving head-on into an oncoming car.

 The head-on car crash on Hamelin Way, in Torquay, Devon, last July claimed the lives of the four people - Twomey family father Con, his son and unborn baby girl, and suicidal taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski.

 Chief Supt Jim Nye, who at the time of the incident was head of South Devon police, said: "No one foresaw that outcome.

 "It is tragic and it affected the whole policing community but it was in line with guidelines.

 "I don't think this has ever happened before in the Devon and Cornwall force.

 "You must not be judges on the outcome but on the decision making process.

 "The outcome is horribly tragic but what happened is very, very rare."

The inquest in Torquay, heard that the black taxi had driven 12 circuits around the Hamelin Way loop before a police vehicle with blue lights flashing and sirens sounding attempted to get him to pull over.

 Seconds later he deliberately slammed his car into oncoming traffic, the inquest heard.

 Most of the questioning on the second day of the hearing was over whether police should have adopted a more softly-softly approach, knowing that the 26-year-old taxi driver had left a four page note saying he intended to take his own life.

 The Twomey family's Volkswagen Golf had nowhere to go to avoid the impact, the inquest was told.

 At the inquest Elber Twomey, the only survivor of the Irish family who were on the last day of their holiday from Meelin in Cork, asked questions through her barrister about the lack of a specific police procedure to deal with suicidal drivers.

 The jury inquest was told that CCTV footage later revealed that the black Vauxhall Vectra taxi had been driving around and around Hamelin Way in a two mile circuit before being spotted by police response driver Pc Ben Bickford.

 Police were on the lookout, listing him as a high risk missing person after his wife, Agnieszka Wojiechowska, found a suicide note a few hours earlier.

 It said that he didn't blame her, loved his children and was sorry that things hadn't worked out.

 Friends told how she was hysterical and unable to talk when she found the four-page note after asking him for a separation.

 The inquest has heard that Wojciechowski's wife Agnieszka Wojciechowska was interviewed at Torquay police station a week after the multiple tragedy.

 Speaking through a Polish interpreter she described how the couple had been arguing and how she had asked him to move out of their home: "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."

 The couple had both worked at the Toorak Hotel in Torquay.

 Marek worked as a kitchen porter and later as a chef and his wife Aga worked as a house keeper.

 They started having financial problems and three weeks before he died he started a new job working six nights a week for Torbay Taxis.

 The Twomey family were on the last day of their South Devon holiday when the crash happened last year on Friday July 6 at 2.47pm.

 The father, Con Twomey, 39, died 10 months after.

 His wife Elber, 36, was 24 weeks pregnant at the time of the crash.

 She lost her unborn baby daughter and her 6-month-old son Oisin.

 The couple were treated for serious brain injuries at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth before being transferred to a hospital 60 miles from their home.

 Mr Twomey died there in May.

 Elber attended the first day of the inquest, supported by her brother and a family friend from Ireland.

 Twice she had to leave the courtroom to avoid hearing graphic descriptions of the emergency services' fight to save lives at the scene.

 One member of the public, driver John Onions, who had been running an errand to Sainsbury's at The Willows, says that he let the Twomey family's Volkswagen Golf pull in front of him as they both turned onto Hamelin Way.

 He told the inquest: "It dawned on me afterwards that if I hadn't let them in at the bottom, it would have been me."

 Mr Onions, who said he still suffers flashbacks from the crash, said he noticed the family's car in a queue of traffic and let it go in front of him: "I could see a child in the back and we both turned left."

 He described the moment of impact: "It just took off.

 "It came down, turned its steering wheel and just went straight across into the car in front of me.

 "It sounds awful now but the crash looked deliberate.

 "It decided to accelerate and go straight across the road.

 "The image was that the Vectra seemed to shoot straight across.

 "It was impossible for them to do anything.

 "The oncoming car decided to turn and go straight into it.

 "It's as simple as that."

 Royal Mail lorry driver Jeremy Spargo was heading down Hamelin Way when the black Vauxhall Vectra taxi passed him followed by a police car.

 Pc Ben Bickford described how he was driving up Hamelin Way when he spotted a black car driving down in the opposite carriageway.

 'On a hunch' he decided to follow and see if it was the missing suicidal man who police were concerned about. He drove at between 70 and 80 mph to catch up with the taxi.

 At that point he flashed his headlights four times and signalled to the driver to pull over.

 "When I saw that he wasn't going to stop I pulled back," he said.

 "I am not a trained pursuit driver.

 "The driver was aware of my presence.

 "As we approached the single carriageway he made a deliberate act of accelerating and driving straight into the other carriageway.

 "The back end of the vehicle dipped dramatically, turning directly into an oncoming car.

 "I was just in shock.

 Pc Bickford was asked by the Twomey family's barrister: "Do you not think that approaching the back of the Vauxhall Vectra at some speed with your blue lights on might have exacerbated the situation?"

 A jury of 10 people were sworn in by coroner Ian Arrow to hear the two inquests into the deaths of toddler Oisin Twomey and taxi driver Marek Wojiechowski.

 A Hamelin Way fund was set up by people in Torbay and raised more than £3,600

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