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'I have forgiven him' - Cork woman opens up about crash that killed her young family

“I have an army in heaven that kick my ass out of bed every morning.”

ELBER TWOMEY, THE Irish woman whose family was killed in 2012 when a suicidal taxi driver crashed into their car in England, has met with senior Gardaí to offer advice on dealing with suicidal members of the public.

In a moving interview on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke this morning, she also revealed she has forgiven Marek Wojciechowski for his role in the tragedy, and met with his wife.

On 6 July 2012, Twomey was on holiday in the Devon town of Torquay with her husband Con, and 16-month-old son Oisín, when their car was hit at speed by a vehicle driven by Wojciechowski.

Con, Oisín, and the couple’s unborn daughter Elber Marie were all killed in the incident, although Con lived in intensive care for a further 10 months.

Elber herself sustained life-threatening injuries, and did not regain consciousness for three to four weeks afterwards.

In the aftermath of the incident, Twomey said the incident could have been prevented if police had not alarmed Wojciechowski – who was known to have written a suicide note – by using sirens and pursuing him at high speed.

Source: Nottingham Post/YouTube

An investigation by the UK Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that the individual officer involved in the pursuit was not at fault, but as Twomey pointed out this morning, Devon police have since changed their practice when dealing with suicidal motorists.

Twomey has continued her advocacy in Ireland, and recently addressed Garda members at Templemore, training them on how best to deal with suicidal members of the public, especially motorists.

A suicidal soul isn’t a criminal.
Should the police and the guards have basic suicide awareness training, that will all clue in when they’re dealing with a vulnerable person.

CLICK HERE to listen to Elber Twomey’s interview on RTE’s Today with Seán O’Rourke

2012_0316oisc3adn00081 Elber Twomey with her husband Con, and son Oisín on his first birthday. Source: Elber Twomey

‘I have an army in heaven that kick my ass out of bed every morning’

Speaking about her own personal journey in the two years since she lost her family, Twomey revealed that she had met with Wojciechowski’s wife to assure her that her break-up with Marek was not to blame for subsequent events.

It was very emotional for both of us.
But personally, I was glad to meet her, and to let her know that i didn’t blame her.
I think that was very important for her.

The Cork woman also credited her religious faith, and conversations with a priest, for her ability to forgive Wojciechowski.

[The priest] asked me if I pray for [Marek], and I said no. And he asked me would I, and I said I couldn’t.
So he said he would pray for him on my behalf every day until I’d feel I was able to pray for him.

Her response? “I hope you live to be very old, because I doubt I’ll ever pray for him.”

Within two months, she had had a profound change of heart:

The month of the Holy Souls, I started lighting a candle in the church in CUH for Marek.
He was a dad and he was a husband. I’m sure when he saw what the outcome of the crash was, and the way it wiped out our family – I’m sure that was enough for him [to regret it].
Yes, I have [forgiven him.] And I really believe if I hadn’t forgiven him I’d be very bitter and angry.
I’m blessed, I have fairly strong faith.
And I would say I have an army in heaven that kick my ass out of bed every morning.”

Helplines

  • Samaritans: 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Console: 1800 247 247 (Suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware: 1890 303 302 (Depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House: 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie (Suicide, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Teen-Line Ireland: 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

Read: Elber Twomey statement: ‘I loved being baba Oisin’s mom and I loved being Connie’s wife’>

Inquest into crash that killed Cork toddler to resume today>

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About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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