Sunday 19 November 2017

Gardai hunt 'maniac' afterhit-and-run claims young girl's life

Gillian Fitzgerald was standing next to her closest friend, Kelly, when the two were both struck in the hit-and-run.

The two young women were rushed to Wexford General Hospital, where Kelly was pronounced dead.

Ms Fitzgerald, who is said to be "deeply traumatised", has injuries that are not said to be life-threatening.

Kelly, a single girl from Tara Hill, Inch in Co Wexford, told friends on a social networking website that it was her dream to one day get married and to have children, "way in the future" after she'd seen the world.

Student

There are also photographs of Kelly with her friends enjoying previous bank holiday weekends socialising in Gorey.

Kelly, who is believed to have been a student of Limerick College of Art and Design, is also pictured above with old classmates from Gorey Community School at their debs' ball.

Her friends and relatives expressed their sadness and shock at Kelly's death in the wake of the tragedy.

"This can't be happening," said Aisling Walsh, one of Kelly's close friends.

Another friend, Shauna McGrath, described the 20-year-old as an "amazing person" who would be "missed forever". She said Kelly would be "forever in (her) heart".

The car involved in the incident was found burnt out yesterday in the Kilnahue Lane area on the outskirts of Gorey.

Gardai are following a definite line of inquiry and expect to question a young man soon.

Vital evidence that could have been used by garda forensic investigators was destroyed in the burning of the vehicle.

However, detectives were examining CCTV from various business premises in Gorey last night in a bid to piece together the movements of the car leading up to the tragedy.

The Garda Ombudsman was initially called to investigate the incident after it was reported locally that the car had been chased by officers. It has since emerged that the car was not pursued but it was being "monitored" by gardai.

The investigation has been handed back to officers in Gorey.

Local sources suggested that the car at the centre of the probe had sped through a garda checkpoint in Ballycanew some time before the incident.

However, this was emphatically rejected by officers last night.

Forensic

Main Street Gorey was closed yesterday for a full technical and forensic examination.

A garda helicopter patrolled over the area close to where the car was discovered yesterday.

Kelly's family were being comforted last night and gardai have already spoken to the other injured young woman about what happened.

Kelly is survived by her mother, Pauline, and two sisters, Kirstie (18) and Lauren (12). It is understood that her father, Richard, died from cancer in August 2008.

Insp Mick Walsh said the car drove through the traffic lights "and collided with a number of pedestrians" on Gorey's Main Street.

He appealed for witnesses to the collision who may have been on the footpath at the time -- or to anyone with information on the burning of the car -- to come forward.

Witnesses can contact gardai in Gorey on 053 9430690, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Irish Independent

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