Monday 24 October 2016

A small tear came from her eye and i knew this was her 'goodbye Mammy'

Ciaran Lane arrives at the court before he was sentenced to five years in prison
Ciaran Lane arrives at the court before he was sentenced to five years in prison

A devastated mother has told how her life stopped the moment her daughter was killed by a driver high on vodka and cocaine.

Vanessa Siatka was just a month shy of her second birthday when she was struck by a Toyota Corolla driven by criminal Ciaran Lane (25) on a sunny Easter Bank Holiday Monday.

Lane was yesterday handed a seven-year prison sentence - with the final two years suspended - after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death. He was behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla that knocked down baby Vanessa in the Phoenix Park on April 6, 2015.

In a victim impact statement read to the court yesterday, the victim's mother, Katarzyna - also known as Kasia - said at the time she couldn't do anything but watch as her "baby was taken away" from her.


"For me that was the moment time and my heart stopped. The moment the car hit Vanessa it not only swept her away physically, it also took her away from us. All I could do was run to my baby.

"I spoke to her; I told her I loved her and everything would be OK, Daddy was on the way.

"I prayed for her but as she lay on the road a small tear came from her eye and I knew in my heart that this was her last 'Goodbye Mammy'.

"Our hearts are shattered, Lukasz and I. Life stopped. We did not know how to exist; how to sleep; how to eat; how to wake up. Every day is a nightmare; even to breath was difficult. I still have nightmares about the accident, they never go away. Without Vanessa we will never be the same; never as happy as we were."

Judge Patrick McCartan told the court this was "a terrible tragedy" with the "horrible loss of a young life".

The judge said this tragedy was "entirely avoidable" and he extended his "deepest condolences" to the family of Vanessa Siatka. "Her family and friends come here today in search of some justice for what has occurred," he said.

The judge said there was nothing the court could do to address the injustice or help rebalance matters.

"My hands are tied by precedent and a higher sense of justice in that only in very exceptional cases should a maximum sentence be imposed. This case is not far from that position as it happens," said the judge.

He said the Phoenix Park was used every day of the year by the citizens of Dublin with its many attractions for young children and their families.

"Easter Monday, April 6, 2015 was a particular busy day, it was a very pleasant and warm day.

"Anyone who used the park, including the accused, would know there would be children about. The evidence has established that the accused was in no position to consider the safety of others," he said.

The judge said the 26-year-old drove his car in the "most erratic way" and what occurred in the Phoenix Park "was inevitable but entirely avoidable".


He said Lane was well over the limit and was using "a highly stimulant drug, cocaine".

The judge said Vanessa had no chance and this was as bad "a dangerous driving case" as he had ever encountered.

"He was a father of a child of the same age and knows the value of life in that respect," he said. He said the only mitigating factor was that Vanessa Siatka was on the road. The judge said Lane was a young man, the father of a child, he came from a young family and had entered an early guilty plea.

The judge then sentenced Lane to seven years with the final two years suspended.

Following the tragic incident the young toddler's father Lukasz told the Herald that "she went to the angels".

"She was a happy, healthy and smiley little girl. If I had a bad day in work it all disappeared when I walked through the door. She made our troubles disappear," Lukasz previously said.

"I got a phone call and went straight to the hospital. I had been told Vanessa was badly hurt and then when I saw Kasia I knew how bad it was."

Lukasz said doctors at Temple Street told them there was no chance she would survive.

"Waiting was the worst thing. Waiting and not being able to do anything," he said. "Then at 1.28am Vanessa died in Kasia's arms. She went to the Angels".

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