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Schoolgirl (10) killed taking shortcut home

A SCHOOLGIRL was crushed to death as she crossed a road just yards from her home last night.

Ten-year-old Louise Fleming was crossing the busy N81 with three friends at Blessington, Co Wicklow, when she was struck by an oncoming car.

The children were en-route from the Blessington Orchard estate to the nearby Texaco service station at around 5.40pm when the tragedy occurred.

Little Louise's father Maurice was too distraught to talk today when the Herald called to their home but locals said everybody was "numb with grief".

Louise and her pals had made their way from their homes, up a grassy bank and through a hole in the wire fence that is a shortcut to the road.

The young girl -- who was a pupil at St Mary's Senior National School in Blessington -- suffered fatal injuries.

She was rushed to Naas General Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

The spot where she was knocked down is visible from the Fleming house yards away.

A bouquet of flowers and a teddy bear were placed at the spot where Louise had come through the wire fence.

Neighbours told the Herald that local kids use a few different holes in the fencing to take short cuts to the Texaco shop.

West Wicklow TD Billy Timmins told the Herald today that the incident had left the community "numb with grief".

"Louise's death is a devastating tragedy.

"My sympathies are with her family at this difficult time. People in Blessington are numb with grief."

Principal of St Mary's School Gerry Brown said: "She was a lovely girl and our hearts go out to the family."

It is the second incident on the N81 in the space of two weeks, after a man in this thirties was struck while out sweeping leaves. He is currently in a critical condition in Naas General Hospital.

Local sources said stretches of the N81 are "treacherous".

The young girl's death comes just weeks after local hero Garda Jones was swept away amid devastating floods.

Garda Jones, of Kilbride, was attempting to assist locals with the floods when he drowned.