Monday 16 September 2019

'The aim is to honour their memory' - Irish woman who lost entire family in horror UK crash plans special remorial

Elber and Con Twomey with their baby Oisin
Elber and Con Twomey with their baby Oisin

Ralph Riegel

A YOUNG Irish woman who lost her entire family in a horror UK crash will have senior UK police officers attend a special 'Remorial' event to honour their memory.

Elber Twomey has devoted her life to promoting road safety and better resources for police training after the tragic death of her husband, Con (38), her 16 month old son, Oisín, and her unborn baby girl, Elber-Marie in a collision in Devon on July 6 2012.

The tragedy was caused by suicidal Polish taxi driver, Marek Wojciechowski (26), who deliberately rammed their Volkswagen Golf outside Torquay as they were travelling back to Ireland.

Elber’s husband, Con (38), died almost ten months later from the terrible injuries he sustained in the collision.

Elber Twomey and her late husband Con on their wedding day
Elber Twomey and her late husband Con on their wedding day

Baby Oisín and his unborn sister, Elber Marie, died within hours of the collision.

Elber survived despite a horrific head injury and then having to endure 19 separate operations after the accident.

Since her recovery, she has campaigned for road safety reforms in Ireland and the UK - and has been honoured in multiple countries for her courageous work.

Now, to mark the fifth anniversary of Elber founding her 'Remorial' event in her native Meelin and Rockchapel, Co Cork, senior UK police officials from Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, who helped investigate the tragedy, will attend as a gesture of solidarity.

"We at the Twomey Family Remorial are honoured to be welcoming Chief Superintendent Jim Nye from Devon & Cornwall Police," Elber said.

"Chief Superintendent Nye will arrive on Friday evening and travel to Meelin for ‘The Connie Twomey Memorial Cup’ on Saturday morning."

"I have invited him to our home in Meelin for lunch on Saturday afternoon. Chief Superintendent Nye also plans to join us for the table quiz and will open our cycles on Sunday morning in Rockchapel."

"I am truly grateful to Sergeant Peter Murphy at Anglesea Street Garda station in Cork and Sergeant Keith White, along with Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid in Dublin, who have been most helpful in advising and guiding me toward promoting our Twomey Family Remorial within An Garda Síochána and the other emergency services," Elber added.

She stressed that the aim of the weekend is to honour the memory of her loved ones - and to remind everyone of just how precious life is.

The weekend also raises money for various charitable causes and works to promote road safety awareness.

The 2012 tragedy occurred after the Pole had left a suicide night and was being sought by Devon police as ‘a high risk person.’

He rammed the Twomey’s car on the final day of their UK holiday after a Devon constable had signalled for him to pull over.

The Devon police, and other UK forces, have since changed their training protocols for handling 'high-risk' motorists.

Elber has devoted her life to a road safety campaign and to secure extra resources and training for gardaí.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA)  presented a special award to Elber in recognition of her courageous campaigning.

She was also honoured by being invited to speak at Westminster on road safety issues.

“I don’t want anyone to go through the nightmare that I have endured,” she said.

Elber said she never thought she could forgive Mr Wojciechowski for what he took away from her in 2012 but her faith helped her through.

“I had to find forgiveness in my heart. If I didn’t I would have faced a life full of bitterness and anger,” she said.

Elber said she bluntly refused to pray for the Polish taxi driver in September 2012 in a conversation with a priest who was a friend of the family.

But, three months later, she was lighting a candle for him and his family at the chapel in Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Elber said she also felt it was important to have met Mr Wojciechowski’s widow, Agnieszka, to stress that she did not blame her

for what happened.

“I had heard that she was blaming herself. I wanted her to know that I didn’t blame her…that relationships break up all the time and this kind of thing doesn’t happen.”

Agnieszka found a four-page suicide note written by her husband and this led to the police alert for her husband that fateful day.

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