Monday 20 January 2020

Girl in car when drunk mother crashed, killing sister and friend, is to receive €200,000

Mary Carberry (36), a chronic alcoholic, had been drinking all day before she crashed the car.
Mr Varden, who owned the car involved in the horrific collision, insisted he did not want Ms Carberry to drive it.
Faith's sister Ava (6) was killed in the 2007 crash.

Tim Healy

A 12-YEAR-OLD is to receive €200,000 in a High Court settlement over an accident in which a car - driven by her banned and uninsured mother - crashed and killed her sister and her best friend.

Faith Varden-Carberry was seven years of age when her mother Mary Carberry (36) crashed into a clay embankment outside Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, in November 2007.

Ms Carbery, who was a chronic alcoholic, got so drunk on the day of the crash she "blacked out" before the crash. She was also banned from driving at the time because of a previous accident.

Faith was seriously injured and her sister Ava(6) and her friend Michaela Logan were killed.

Ms Carberry was later sentenced to six years imprisonment with two years suspended.

Faith sued her mother and her father Thomas Varden as owner of the vehicle.

Judgment has already been entered against the mother and the case against Mr Varden was later withdrawn and only remained against the Motor Insurer's Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), which was set up by the government and the insurance industry to compensate victims of accidents caused by uninsured drivers.

In the High Court today, Mr Justice Peter Charleton approved a €200,000 settlement of Faith's case against the MIBI.

The judge said in terms of what happened to Faith, nothing can ever compensate her, but he hoped the tragedy in her life was now finished and she will do well.

Speaking directly to Faith, the judge said he was very sorry for everything she had been through, but he was sure she will have a great future.

Faith, of Clonguish Court, Newtownforbes, Co Longford, but who now lives in Tuam, Co Galway, had sued through her grandfather Anthony Carberry of St Mels Road, Longford.

As a result of the accident, Faith was removed to hospital after her cervical spine had been stabilised at the scene.

She later underwent surgery and was transferred to Our Lady's Childrens Hospital,Crumlin where she was treated in a spinal cast.

It was claimed Faith suffered severe psychological trauma and upset in circumstances where her sister had been killed in the accident.

Her counsel John Finlay told the court that it was a particularly sad accident.

Faith, who had been sitting in the back seat with her belt on, had to spend two months in a spinal cast.

Counsel said she a lot to deal with as her mother was jailed. She was very resilient but she had suffered great grief.

She now lives with her step sister Marguerite Varden in Tuam where is is in sixth class at school.

Ruling the settlement, Mr Justice Charelton allowed the payment out of €2,000 to purchase a computer and printer for Faith.

At an earlier hearing to decide on liability in the case, the High Court was told by Thomas Varden, Faith's father, that when Mary Carberry was put off the road, she put the children on the phone to him saying they were cold and wet walking the one and a half miles to school.

"It pulled at my heart strings , She was was seeking for me to provide transport , purchase a car and somebody who was insured and had a full licence would drive it," he told the court.

He said he did not want to do it but the children would come on the phone saying they were cold and wet.

He said Ms Carberry was in Alcoholics Anonymous and seemed to be turning over a new leaf.

He said he bought a car for €14,000 but as Ms Carberry was banned from driving, somebody else would have to drive it.

He later learned the car had been insured in another name and Mary Carberry had signed his name to a cheque.

He said on the night of the accident he got a phone call from Mary Carberry saying "Ava was dead and she thought Faith was dead too."

He said when he got to the hospital he discovered Mary had been driving the car.

"I was angry. I am still very angry. No way would I have given the car to her if I thought she was going to use it that way. I trusted her,"he said.

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