Schoolgirl sues parents after crash in which her sister died
A 12-YEAR-OLD girl is suing her mother and father over a car accident which left her seriously injured and in which her sister and a friend died.
Faith Varden-Carberry has launched an action for damages in the High Court against her mother Mary Carbery, who was the uninsured driver of the car, and against her father, Thomas Varden, who owned the vehicle.
Faith was eight years of age when her mother - who was banned from driving at the time because of a previous accident - ploughed into a mud embankment in a disused road outside Edgeworthstown Co Longford in November 2007.
Faith's sister Ava (6) and her friend Michaela Logan were killed and another child was also injured in the tragic accident in 2007.
Mary Carberry was later sentenced to six years imprisonment with two years suspended at Longford Circuit Court in October 2009 for dangerous driving causing death.
Faith (12) is suing her father Thomas Varden, of Renville Village, Oranmore, Co Galway, her mother Mary Carberry, of Clonguish Court, Newtownforbes, Co Longford, and the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland.
As a result of the accident, Faith was in a spinal cast for ten weeks and suffered severe psychological trauma and upset in circumstances where her sister had been killed in the accident.
She attended a child psychologist for three months after the accident.
Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill was told that Mr Varden does not deny he was the owner of the car but claims it was being driven by Ms Carberry without his authority.
Judgement against Ms Carberry has already been obtained in the case.
In evidence today, Mr Varden, a Galway businessman, said he had never lived with Ms Carberry but he kept in contact with the children at all times and provided accommodation for them.
When Ms Carberry was banned from driving, the children had to walk the one and a half miles to school.
Ms Carberry put the children on the phone to him saying they were cold and wet.
"It pulled at my heart strings", he said.
Ms Carberry was asking him to buy 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 Ms Carberry was in Alcoholics Anonymous and seemed to be turning over a new leaf. He bought a car for €14,000 but as she was banned from driving, somebody else would have to drive it.
An insurance policy was taken out by Ms Carberry but it did not cover her to drive.
On the night of the accident, he got a phone call from Ms Carberry saying Ava was dead and she thought Faith was dead too, he said.
When he got to the hospital he discovered Mary Carberry had been driving the car.
At the mortuary, he said he found Mary Carberry lying beside the dead body of her daughter Ava.
"She said if I had a gun I would shoot myself. I said if I had a gun I would do it for you myself."
He added: "I thought Faith was dying, but she recognised my voice and I was delighted.
"I did not see Mary Carberry again until Ava's funeral. I was angry. I am still angry."
He added: "No way would I have given the car to her if I thought she was going to use it that way. I trusted her."
Mr Varden also told the court that between 2003 and 2007 he, along with Ms Carberry's parents had contacted social services about the children.
He said he had a meeting with social workers a few months before the accident to voice his fears but nothing was done.
Faith (12) of Clonguish Court, Newtownforbes, Co Longford, brought the court action through her grandfather Anthony Carberry of St Mels Road, Longford.
The case continues.