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Lily (1) called for mum 'then her eyes rolled back'

A HEARTBROKEN mum has told how her dying baby daughter called out her name as she cradled the child after she was hit by a neighbour's car.

Ruth O'Toole, of Ardmore Walk, Fortunestown, Tallaght, only realised something had happened to 22-month-old Lily when other children started screaming the toddler's name.

The mother had just finished having a brief conversation through the passenger window of a jeep outside her home, and she did not know her daughter had gotten out of the front garden and onto the road.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that prior to the accident, Lily was standing to the left of her mother near the vehicle.

INJURIES

She suffered internal abdominal injuries and died shortly after arriving at Tallaght Hospital on March 2 last year.

Ms O'Toole told the inquest she had been having a cup of tea in the garden with her son's father, Niall Higgins, and that Lily was playing there.

She saw her neighbour, Esther Dillon, on her way out of the cul-de-sac in the jeep and leaned through the passenger door window to talk to her.

Mr Higgins said he saw Lily standing beside her mother at the car and thought Ms O'Toole knew the child was next to her.

The conversation between the two women lasted three to five minutes, Ms O'Toole estimated. After saying goodbye, she turned around and noticed Lily wasn't in the garden.

She said she realised something had happened when she heard children playing nearby screaming out "Lila".

"I turned around and saw Lily at the back of the car," Ms Toole added. "I saw Lily picking herself up and she walked two or three steps.

"I ran to her and picked her up. She called my name. I noticed a graze on her forehead. Her eyes rolled back and I fell to the ground holding her."

Ms Dillon told the court that when she went to drive off, she saw nothing in front of her. She had moved a car length when she felt a "hump" and knew she had hit something.

She got out of the car and saw Lily on the ground. The child was still breathing at this time but died in hospital.

Collision investigator garda Edward Davin found some light marking on the front of the car but could not definitively say if this was caused in the accident.

A file was prepared for the director of public prosecutions, who decided against charges.

The post-mortem found Lily died as a result of extensive intra-abdominal bleeding due to internal injuries.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said the pathologist identified no tyre marks on her body.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and recommended all vehicles of a certain height be fitted with mirrors to let drivers see the front and sides.

Ms Dillon said she initially thought she had hit a child's toy on the road. She never saw Lily in front of the car, let alone leave the garden, she added.

She told the court how she watched the girl's condition deteriorate en route to hospital.

POORLY

"I was holding Lily all the way," she said. "I was singing and talking to her, just trying to keep her awake. She was still breathing but very poorly."

Ms O'Toole told the court it took "five or six minutes" to get to the hospital. She wasn't able to get out of the car quickly as a child lock was on the door, and by the time she got in, Lily was surrounded by doctors.

A short time later, Ms O'Toole was brought into a room by a doctor who told her daughter had passed away.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell told the O'Toole family sometimes it was not possible to find the words to express condolences after such "a profound tragedy".

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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