Tuesday 22 October 2019

'His selfish, careless actions took away my only daughter' - heartbroken family of girl killed in horror crash

Katie Murphy (16) was killed in a crash in Tramore, Waterford
Katie Murphy (16) was killed in a crash in Tramore, Waterford

Ralph Riegel

A heartbroken family claimed they lost their only daughter in an horrific road traffic incident because Edward O'Shea (19), driving while unaccompanied on a learner permit, lost control of a modified Japanese car while showing off to his friends.

O'Shea, 17 at the time of the crash, was jailed for 14 months after being convicted before Waterford Circuit Criminal Court of careless driving causing death and careless driving causing serious injury.

Kate 'Katie' Murphy (16) died when the 1.6-litre Japanese car with a specially lowered suspension and low-profile tyres, being driven by O'Shea, spun out of control and crashed side-on with a wall outside a Tramore housing estate on October 5, 2016.

Katie's heartbroken parents, Hilary and Vivienne, said their lives have been totally devastated by the loss of their only daughter, who brought joy to so many lives.

"In my view, we lost our daughter because Mr O'Shea was showing off driving a high-powered car," Mr Murphy said.

The Tramore father described O'Shea as "a very cold-hearted person" who had not spoken to his family, sent a letter, card or flowers over their daughter's death. "He destroyed our lives."

Mr Murphy urged Judge Eugene O'Kelly not to adopt a "soft-touch" approach to sentencing and to take the opportunity to send out a deterrent message to other Irish road users.

Ms Murphy said the tragedy was every parent's worst nightmare.

"Her death is my past, my present and my future. Edward O'Shea's selfish and careless actions have taken away my only daughter," she sobbed.

"Katie's bedroom door [in our home] is my biggest nightmare. It holds hope but there is no hope to be found.

"When I see the door, I hope for a miracle."

Mr Murphy said they had launched a road safety campaign in their daughter's memory - and urged young people worried about a driver's speed to have the courage to demand to get out of the vehicle.

"Have the courage to say: 'Stop and let me out'. Your parents will collect you. No parent wants their child to arrive home in a hearse," he said.

Scot Murphy said his sister brought joy, love and compassion to so many lives.

Irish Independent

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