| 15.4°C Dublin

Grieving dad wants new hit-and-run law

A grieving father has called for "tougher penalties" following the death of his teenage daughter in a hit and run.

Heartbroken Leo Lieghio called for a change to legislation after his daughter's killer spent just 10 months behind bars.

Marsia Lieghio (16), from Kilcronan Grove, Clondalkin, died from serious head injuries after she was struck by a car while crossing the Fonthill Road on October 16, 2005.

The fifth-year student from Colaiste Bride, who dreamed of becoming a midwife, never regained consciousness and died on October 22.


After the inquest, Marsia's father called for the introduction of vehicular manslaughter and greater penalties for leaving the scene of the accident.

"[The driver] should have been charged with dangerous driving causing death," he said.

"All she was charged with was motoring offences. It's not good enough.

"She served 10 months. She should have served a lot more time."

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell told the father that he could write him a letter addressing his concerns and he would pass it on to the proper authorities.

Ciara McAlinden, the driver of the car, from Dundalk, stopped momentarily but then left the scene, the Dublin City Coroner's Court was told yesterday.

Ms McAlinden went on to tell the court that she had purchased drugs, but she was not driving under the influence as she had not taken any.

The vehicle involved in the tragedy was found burnt out in a field outside Dundalk two days after the hit-and-run incident.

Ms McAlinden was found guilty of careless driving, not having insurance, failure to report the incident, failure to stay at the scene and failure to give appropriate information.

Marsia had dreams of becoming a midwife before her life was cut short.

Her dad recalled how his daughter loved babies and children. He said she had loved visiting a neighbour who had two little girls.

Marsia had been babysitting from the age of 12 and was well able for it, her dad added, paying a moving tribute to his beloved daughter.

She had completed her transition year and would have done the Leaving Cert the following year.


Her death at such a young age was devastating for her loving family and many friends.

"The kids were all very close," Leo told the Herald yesterday.

Marsia and her sister Lia (21) were virtually like twins because there was only 10 months between them, he said.

"They did everything together," said Leo, who also has two younger sons Nathan and Joshua.

"She always had a smile on her face."