Thursday 19 April 2018

Further details of tragic father and son crash emerge as mother undergoes surgery

Gardaí investigating if father 'deliberately drove' into truck

Marco Velocci and Jodie Power
Marco Velocci and Jodie Power
The car is removed from the crash site Picture: Damien Eagers
A garda directs traffic away from the N24 Photo: Damien Eagers

Barry Duggan, Martin Grant and Ken Foy

A father who assaulted his ex-partner before driving their son to his death was "not himself" recently - sources have revealed.

Marco Velocci (28) assaulted his former partner Jodie Power at her home in Oola, Co Limerick before taking their son Alex.

Alex James Velocci
Alex James Velocci

Moments later the father and son were killed in a horrific head-on crash with a truck near Brooks Bridge, Limerick.

Sources have revealed that Mr Velocci, who worked as a plumber, was "not himself" over the weekend. He was due to attend work on Monday but he didn't show up.

It is believed he was also due to work on Tuesday morning and made contact to say that he was on his way.

Instead he travelled to 26-year-old Jodie's home in Oola where an assault took place. The mother-of-two's arm was broken and she suffered serious cuts as she fought to save her son from being driven to his death.

Gardaí are now investigating if Mr Velocci "deliberately drove" into the truck in a suspected murder-suicide.

A senior source said: "Gardaí are hoping to interview the driver of this truck today. From preliminary enquiries it would appear that this truck driver was not at fault in any way."

Detectives are also hoping to interview Ms Power later today. The grief stricken mum is due to undergo surgery at University Hospital Limerick this afternoon for her broken arm.

Post-mortem examinations are being carried out on the remains of Velocci and his son Alex at the same hospital by Acting Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan this afternoon. Preliminary results are expected later today.

A senior source said: "Gardaí are not jumping to any conclusions on this case yet. This is a complicated case with multiple witnesses and scenes.

"Every aspect will be forensically examined."

Top, the house in Oola where Jodie Power lives Photo: Damien Eagers
Top, the house in Oola where Jodie Power lives Photo: Damien Eagers

According to sources, Mr Velocci arrived at the house of his former partner, Ms Power, at about 8am on Monday.

He became involved in an argument with Ms Power - who is also a mother to a nine-month-old baby - and attempted to take his three-year-old son Alex from the house.

"It appears as if Ms Power did everything she could to stop him from leaving and a struggle ensued," a source said.

During the struggle, Ms Power's arm was broken and she received a number of stab wounds. Mr Velocci (28) then left the property with Alex in his black 2005 Audi.

The truck after the crash on the N24 Photo: Damien Eagers
The truck after the crash on the N24 Photo: Damien Eagers

Ms Power contacted the emergency services, informing them her son had been "abducted" and she had been injured, sources said.

Gardaí and emergency services rushed to Ms Power's home. On their way to the house, they came across the scene of the fatal crash that claimed the lives of Mr Velocci and his son.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

On Monday night, officers were hoping to speak to witnesses to determine what caused the fatal road smash at Brooks Bridge between Pallasgreen and Oola on the Limerick-to-Tipperary stretch of the N24 at 8.30am yesterday.

A male motorcyclist who witnessed the fatal collision was too distressed to make a statement.

Ms Power rents a modest 1950s bungalow at Glebe, Oola, where she lived with her two sons. She had been separated from Mr Velocci for more than a year, neighbours said.

Gardaí have yet to speak to Ms Power, as she required surgery at University Hospital Limerick.

Ms Power's family - her parents Elizabeth and Perry, from Oola, and two brothers James and Perry Jnr - were being comforted by family and friends last night.

Her brother James, who lives in Australia was "on a plane home", a neighbour said.

Mr Velocci's father, Onorio, is a well-known Italian native, who has worked all his life in chip shops in Limerick City.

Marco Velocci, who was a member of the Emily Lattin- Cullen Oola (ELCO) gun club, was originally from Oola, but had been living in Lattin, Co Tipperary.

Paying tribute, his best friend Jonathan Ryan said: "He was fierce kind-hearted. There was no badness whatsoever in the man, nothing like that. I'm shellshocked by it

"He was a very quiet, genuine person. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He kept to himself."

Philip Ryan, who lives just a couple of doors away from where the alleged stabbing took place, described the area as a "small and quiet community".

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Noel Gleeson described the road where the collision took place as a busy stretch.

"It's an awful tragedy. We read about these tragedies in the paper every day, there is no answer to them really," he said.

"It is a terrible tragedy... and my condolences are with them."

Irish Independent

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