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'Hand yourself in... how do you sleep? Fiancee in plea to driver'

Victim's partner tells of her despair

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Thiago Cortes with fiancée Teresa

Thiago Cortes with fiancée Teresa

Thiago Cortes with fiancée Teresa

The fiancée of the cyclist who died after a hit-and-run in Dublin city centre has urged those responsible to "be brave and admit what you did".

Thiago Cortes (28) from Brazil received devastating injuries when he was hit by a car that failed to stop on North Wall Quay at 10.30pm on Monday.

Gardaí have identified the juvenile driver of the car that struck the delivery cyclist.

Mr Cortes died in the Mater Hospital yesterday from catastrophic head injuries he received when he was "mown down" by the car.

Senior sources say "excellent quality" CCTV caught the four male occupants of the car fleeing from nearby Castleforbes Square where they abandoned the 2005-registration light-coloured Ford Focus and then fled.

"Gardaí have identified all four teenagers that were in the car and they are from the general Sheriff Street area," a senior source told the Herald.

Mr Cortes was finishing work and about to cycle home to his fiancée Teresa in their Portobello home in the south of the city when he was hit by the car.

Devastated

Speaking to the Herald last night, his devastated fiancé Teresa Oliveira said whoever hit him drove away knowing how injured he had to be.

"I appeal to whoever was in the car to be brave and admit to what you did. How do you sleep at night? Thiago is not coming back. I don't sleep.

"His family don't sleep. His friends don't sleep. Hand yourself to gardaí and serve what you have to serve," Teresa added.

She told how she had been messaging Thiago and expecting him back to their home they share with another couple in Portobello.

"I had been texting Thiago and it is unusual for him not to answer. Then a friend sent our WhatsApp group a message saying a Deliveroo driver had been knocked down in town.

"I was worried and started ringing and ringing Thiago but there was no answer," Teresa said.

"Then a garda answered and told us what happened and we went to the hospital. I thought maybe he had a broken leg or arm, but then the nurse said to me Thiago was 'still alive' and I was worried then, because it sounded serious," she added.

"They let me see him, and when I saw how he was, and his face, I knew it was bad. Thiago did not have surgery. He was on life support but he was too badly injured.

"The sergeant at the hospital told us it was a hit-and-run. I was shocked. I wondered how anyone could drive away and leave someone to die.

"When I saw the pictures of the car it was obvious that whoever was in the car knew how serious Thiago's injuries were," Teresa added.

The driver of the car is known to gardaí for involvement in crime. Some of the other occupants are also known - they are aged around 16 and have been involved in anti-social behaviour and other similar crimes.

"There have been no arrests so far because the investigation is still very much at the evidence-gathering stage but gardaí would appeal to these teenagers to hand themselves in before gardaí come for them," a senior source said.

"Gardaí are pretty certain they know that gardaí know who they are."

The case is being treated as dangerous driving causing death as well as leaving the scene of the accident. Gardaí are satisfied the driver did not intend to harm Mr Cortes.

"This happened at a junction and speed definitely seems to be a factor. The car was not stolen but it was not in very good condition - it would be fair to call it a banger," the source said.

The car, which had no tax, insurance or NCT, has been examined by garda forensic experts. Last night senior sources said gardaí were "very confident" of securing criminal charges e.

Thiago's life support machine was switched off yesterday.

"There were around 70 of his friends at the hospital. That's how loved he was. The support at the vigil was incredible too," said Teresa.

"We had got engaged on my birthday in March, and we planned to get married this year in Dublin.

"We had come here in 2018 to study, and Thiago was only working for Deliveroo for around 10 days. He was trying to get some money together while the pandemic was going on so he could study IT. We planned a future here.

Smiling

"Thiago was a really good friend. He was there for everyone he knew. He was always happy, always smiling, and always cheerful," she added.

Thiago's cousin said he had encouraged them to come to Ireland.

"He was like a big brother to us, and we miss him like a brother," he said.

Their friend Laura Novo told the Herald: "Thiago was a really good friend. He had lots of friends. He helped everybody. It was his dream to come to Ireland to study. He and Teresa were best friends," she said.

His father Celso Cortes wrote how he was feeling drained after learning of his son's death.

Mr Cortes Snr, who lives in Brazil, wrote: "It will be impossible to forget the day they stole from me the most precious asset. Today my dear son passed away, I am revolted by how death took him so unexpectedly.

"It's hard to face this reality when it was about someone so young, with so many things still to live for.

"But life has never been fair and I will try to cling every day to the best memories so that a little peace can invade my heart. Rest in peace my dear son. Some day we'll meet again."

Gardaí yesterday continued to appeal for information on the case which is being investigated by officers at Store Street.

A garda spokeswoman said: "Gardaí are appealling for anyone who was in the area of the North Wall Quay, North Wall Avenue, East Wall Road, Sheriff Street Upper, Castleforbes Road or Castleforbes Square between 10.15pm and 10.30pm on Monday to come forward."

The Dublin Cycling Campaign said it was saddened by the death. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends," a spokesperson said.