Friday 17 January 2020

‘Danish police still blame my wife for crash that killed our three children’

Brian and Maria O'Shea with their son Torben
Brian and Maria O'Shea with their son Torben

THE speeding driver of the car that killed three Irish children in a horror car crash has said he won’t pay any compensation personally.

Maria O’Shea was driving her four children on July 16, when was hit by a car driven at speed by Lasse Burholt in North Jutland, Denmark.

Burholt was driving at 125kph in an 80kph zone when he collided with Maria’s car, killing Soren (11), Saoirse (9) and Connor (3) last July.

Maria survived along with nine-month-old baby Torben, who suffered a fractured leg.

The family are related to celebrity chef Kevin Dundon.

Burholt walked free from a Danish court last week after being handed down a 10,000KR (€1,340) fine and will be allowed on the road again if he passes a driving test after three years.

But today he told the Herald he will not personally pay all of the O’Shea’s demand for compensation.

“The O'Shea’s want a total of 1.7 million DKR (€228,000) from me, of which 1.1million DKR (€147,000) is compensation for loss of income, but I won’t pay that from my own pocket, that is up to insurance companies,” said Burholt.

“Normally it is insurance companies that handle claims. I will not pay because we both had insurance policies,” he added.

Burholt also said that although the fine he received in court last week for speeding is low he has no control over it because it is the fine issued under Danish law.

“The fine is based on Danish laws, and it is low compared to the loss of three children,” he told the Herald.

Meanwhile, Maria O’Shea’s husband Brian has said police in Denmark still claim his wife was to blame for the crash even though Burholt was found guilty of speeding.

Deputy chief prosecutor Torben Kauffmann Sorensen told the Herald that a custodial sentence was not sought as fines were the standard sentence in cases of this type in Denmark.

Mr Sorensen said that though police found that Burholt's speeding was “the main cause of the accident” prosecutors had to take into account the left turn taken by Maria.

Speaking today, Maria’s husband Brian, who was not in the car when it crashed, challenged Danish police to charge her if they thought she was at fault.

“The police continue to maintain that Maria was to blame in the accident even though the other driver has been charged and convicted and found guilty in a court of law,” he said.

“I have asked them to explain their position, and if she is guilty of something I have suggested that they charge her and allow her to defend herself in a court of law,” he added.

Brian O’Shea is also highly critical of the fine imposed on Burholt. “It does seem somewhat light considering the circumstances and the results of his actions,” he said today.

“It wasn’t possible for the prosecutor to prove he was doing a higher speed. We are pretty sure he was.

“The only thing they could prove was the actual impact speed which they gather at the site of an accident, and in this case the software that they use came up with a speed of 125kmh as he torpedoed my wife’s car,” Brian explained.

“The day after the crash Maria was interviewed by police and charged with involuntary manslaughter, this was less than 24 hours after the accident where we lost three children,” he added.

Brian explained that the main road Maria was turning onto was under reconstruction so the traffic was diverted.

“Maria had to go down that diversion and make a left turn to go back to the route she was originally trying to go on,” he said.


Conor Feehan

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