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'We had kids to put to bed, now we have corpses' – dad

THE father of two little girls who were killed in a road crash has told how the family had "two kids to put to bed on a Saturday night – and we were left with two corpses the next day".

He was speaking as 41-year-old John O'Connor, of Waterslade Downs, Tuam, Co Galway, was jailed for seven years on a single charge of dangerous driving on October 21, 2012.

O'Connor, who has a life-long history of epilepsy, pleaded guilty to the charge and had the final three years of his sentence suspended.

Kate Gilmore (2) and her 12-week-old sister Grace were out for a stroll with their father, John, on the day of the tragedy.

They were both asleep at 12.35pm when their twin buggy was hit head-on by a Toyota Avensis which had veered on to the hard shoulder of the N17.

In a victim impact statement at Galway Circuit Criminal, their father, John Gilmore, said: "When asked to describe the loss of Kate and Grace I have to borrow the words of the priest at my daughters' funerals, who said, 'John and Michelle had two kids to put to bed on Saturday night and were left with two corpses on Sunday and that is the reality of it'."

SHATTERED

"As a parent, you look forward to a long life with your children, watching them grow up, but they will never get to do the things – going to school, college, picking a career and having a full and happy life and looking after me in my old age. All those things stolen away."

Mr Gilmore's wife said she questioned why she asked him to take the walk on that day.

"Our lives have been shattered. I put one foot in front of the other barely able to keep going. Time has stood still," Michelle Gilmore said.

The couple have since had a baby boy, which Mrs Gilmore said has put a light back into their lives.

The court heard that O'Connor had been involved in another collision moments before he crashed into the children.

He left the scene of that accident and was seen driving erraticallybefore he almost collided with a jogger on the hard shoulder, seconds before his car ploughed into Mr Gilmore and his daughters.

He was arrested the following day, but had no recollection of either accident.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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