Friday 20 April 2018

Mother who lost her only son in a hit-and-run accident settles her High Court action against the driver

Lucia and Jim O’Farrell, parents of hit-and-run victim Shane O’Farrell
Lucia and Jim O’Farrell, parents of hit-and-run victim Shane O’Farrell

A mother who lost her only son in a hit-and-run accident has settled her High Court action against the driver.

Lucia O Farrell's law student son Shane was knocked down as he cycled near his home at Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.

Shane (23) had just handed in his dissertation for his masters degree in law at Trinity College Dublin and was training for a triathlon when the accident happened.

Mrs O'Farrell sued the driver of the car, Lithuanian national Zigimantas Gridziuska (39), for nervous shock as a result of the accident on August 2, 2011.

She told the court the joy is gone out of her life since her son died.

"I re-live every minute of the day that it happened.I will never move on. My life is over," she said.

The 57-year old mother-of-three said she had a special bond with her only son and has not changed anything in his room since his death.

"His laptop is where he left it; his jeans that he took off still on the bed. The guitar gathers dust. I have not touched anything in his room, you think maybe he could just come back."

She added: "My son is dead and is not coming home. I lost my only son.Now I see everything as being over. There is no fixing it."

Mrs O'Farrell said she had to give up her job as a psychiatric nurse due to ill health after the accident and became quite isolated. She said she did not want to go out or meet anyone or encounter Mr Gridziuska as he was out on bail on charges relating to the accident.

Shane died after his bike was struck by a car on the N2 Dublin to Derry Road between Carrickmacross and Castleblaney sometime after 10pm.

Mr Gridziuska who lived in Carrickmacross at the time was given a suspended sentence of eight months on condition that he leave the country.

Handing down the sentence Judge Patrick McCartan described Gridziuska as a "massive liability" who "offers nothing to the community".

He had pleaded guilty to failing to stop his car at the scene of an accident and was also banned from driving for ten years.

The High Court was told today by Gabriel Gavigan SC the case had been settled and could be struck out. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Anthony Kidney SC, for Mr Gridziuska, pointed out to the court the defendant's legal team empathised and sympathised with the O O'Farells and had defended the case on the instruction of the insurer.

Judge Raymond Fullam said it was in everyone’s best interests that the case had been settled.

He said the O’Farrells now, with "the trauma of this litigation, both criminal and civil, behind them can face the future together and live with their great loss."

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