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Truck driver fined €1,500 over accident that left 3-year-old girl dead and her father seriously injured

Senan O’Flaherty had pleaded guilty to two offences of careless driving.

Ennis Courthouse
Ennis Courthouse
Image: Google Street View

A TRUCK DRIVER has been fined €1,500 for careless driving over an accident that caused the death of a three-year-old girl and seriously injured her father three years ago.

Estlin Wall was just days away from her fourth birthday when she was killed in an accident which caused serious bodily harm to her father, Vincent Wall, in 2017.

The mother of Estlin Wall stated today that she is “very disappointed” at the sentence imposed on the man whose careless driving caused the death of her three year old girl.

“When you think the poor man can’t work for four years – that’s literally the amount of time Estlin had on Earth so it is hard to equate the two as being fair,” Amy Wall said.

Imposing sentence at Ennis Circuit Court today, Judge Gerald Keys imposed two fines of €750 on Senan O’Flaherty (63) of Lower Gowerhass, Cooraclare for careless driving causing the death of Estlin and careless driving causing seriously bodily harm to Vincent Wall on March 15, 2017.

The accused had pleaded guilty to the two offences, and the judge said he had “a low culpability” in causing the accident.

The judge also imposed a four year driving disqualification on O’Flaherty and commented: “I’m conscious that this man cannot earn a living for at least four years”.

Mother’s statement

Speaking outside Ennis courthouse today, Amy Wall said: “Even if they think it is a low level of culpability, the consequences are so great. It is hard to feel that just losing your licence is enough for what we have lost and what Estlin has lost.
Amy added: “We are very disappointed, it doesn’t feel right for the consequences. It is hard to think of all the energy we have put into this over the last three years that have delayed the healing and grieving process and trying to move forward with our lives – that that is what it culminates in – a lost licence basically.”

Heavily pregnant with the Walls’ third baby, Amy added: 

It is very disappointing  but we are days away from having another baby – we have a three year old and there was nothing that was ever going to bring Estlin back so that’s how we are going to have to think about it in order to move forward.”

Evidence

At around 9am on 15 March 2017, Vincent Wall (41) was driving Estlin to creche in Inagh from their home in Ennistymon, north Clare.

Estlin was fatally injured in a road crash moments after O’Flaherty pulled out from behind a bus.

Her father suffered a severe and significant brain injury as a result of the crash, and has no recollection of the accident. He was placed in an induced coma after the crash and missed Estlin’s funeral.

In court, Estlin’s mother, Amy Wall shook her head and wept after the fine of €750 was imposed on O’Flaherty for reckless driving causing her daughter’s death .

In response to a comment from Amy Wall from her seat in court which said her daughter was just four years old, the judge said: “I have set out in great detail the reasoning behind this judgement and it should be seriously considered in depth.”

The judge had commented earlier: “In these type of cases, there are no winners or losers. This is a very tragic case which I considered for a lengthy period of time and with great difficulty.”

The judge said that in the case, O’Flaherty had expressed remorse, that there was no speed and no alcohol concerning the accident, and that he had pleaded guilty.

However, he also accepted that the victim impact statements by Amy and Vincent Wall were “heartbreaking”.

In her victim impact statement, Amy Wall last month told O’Flaherty that any sentence he received would “pale in comparison to the life sentence of pain and sorrow we have been given”.

“Estlin pays the highest price, sentenced to death that day with no chance of survival,” she said.

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About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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