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Dad's agony as truck crushed son (3) to death

A FATHER has told how he screamed at a refuse lorry driver to stop as he watched his toddler son crushed to death.

Patrick McDonagh, a twin who was just three, was killed when he was trapped under the lorry after running after a tennis ball.

The lorry driver, Alex McDaid (61), appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court charged with dangerous driving causing death and driving without a valid driving licence. He denies the charges.



The boy's father, Patrick Snr, told yesterday's hearing of the last horrifying moments of his son's life outside the family home in Letterkenny on February 16 2010.

He told how Patrick Jnr and his twin sister, Megan, had been playing with a tennis ball.

The family's pet dog took the ball and Mr McDonagh retrieved it and gave the ball back to little Patrick.

The ball then rolled down a hill as Mr McDonagh roared at his son to stop.

"I ran down after him and I was roaring for the driver to stop," he said

"He was bending down to pick up the ball and he was hit by the step at the back of the lorry and the lorry went over him. It happened in seconds."

McDaid, of Bomany, Letterkenny, wiped away tears as sat in court listening to the evidence of Mr McDonagh.

The dead boy's mother, Shirley, told the court she heard her husband shouting "Stop, stop".

She ran outside and saw the truck roll over her son.

"Patrick was lying on the ground. I picked him up. He was gasping for air," she said.

An ambulance rushed Shirley and Patrick Jnr to Letterkenny General Hospital, but the court heard the little boy died a short time later from massive head injuries.

Some photographs taken at the scene were held back from the jury because of their graphic nature.

The court heard that blood and bone fragments were found at the scene.

Tomasz Duraj, who was working at the back of the Ferry's Refuse lorry, said he was standing at the back right hand side of the lorry when the accident happened.

The Polish national said there was nothing to suggest that there was any danger.



He said that, because of the noise of the lorry, he only realised what had happened when McDaid turned off the engine.

Cherie Young, a neighbour of the McDonagh family, said she did not see the accident, but saw Mrs McDonagh cradling her child just minutes after the tragedy.

"It just seemed like a freak accident," she said.

The trial continues today.