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Saturday 18 November 2017

Teacher who lost family in UK suicide smash can't quiz police

Elber Twomey, her husband Con, and the couple's son Oisin.
Elber Twomey, her husband Con, and the couple's son Oisin.

Ralph Riegel and John Mulligan

AN IRISH teacher whose entire family was wiped out by a suicidal driver won't be allowed to query why British police have no specific policy to deal with such a crisis.

Elber Twomey (37) lost her husband Con (38), her son Oisin (16 months), and unborn baby Elber Marie when Polish taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski (26) deliberately drove into their car.

The Pole, who left a suicide note and had circled a busy dual-carriageway 12 times outside Torquay, south-west England, drove into the family's car seconds after a policeman signalled to him to pull over.

Mrs Twomey wanted to directly question the police's lack of a policy to deal with suicidal or high-risk drivers at the inquest in Devon.

Coroner Ian Arrow adjourned the hearing amid concerns over the legal implications of allowing such a question to be put to the jury.

Now, the High Court in London has ruled the question about a policy on suicidal drivers – and any involvement it may or may not have had in the Torquay tragedy – cannot be asked.

Mr Justice Stuart Smith said that "no words can do justice to the horror of what happened" in Torquay.

But for legal reasons such a general policy question cannot be raised before an inquest jury.

"There is no basis upon which (that) question can properly be left to the jury," he ruled.

The inquest is now expected to resume on Monday for concluding evidence.

The Twomey family, from Meelin, north Cork, have indicated they will make no comment until after the inquest is over.

However, friends said that while they are disappointed by the High Court ruling, they appreciate the efforts of the Devon coroner.

The inquest has already heard how Mr Wojciechowski left a four-page suicide note for his wife, Agnieszka, just hours before the tragedy in July 2012.

He crashed into Twomey family's Volkswagen Golf on the last day of their British holiday.

Irish Independent

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