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'I knew our Katie was gone' - dad tells of horror at seeing girl pulled from wrecked car

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Katie Murphy died in a crash

Katie Murphy died in a crash

Katie Murphy's dad Hilary

Katie Murphy's dad Hilary

Katie Murphy died in a crash

A heartbroken father who lost his 16-year-old daughter in a horrific car crash has said he will never forget the sight of her being pulled from the wreckage.

Katie Murphy died when a Toyota car with a specially lowered suspension and low-profile tyres, being driven by Edward O'Shea, spun out of control and crashed into a wall outside a Tramore housing estate on October 5, 2016.

O'Shea (19) was jailed for 14 months on Tuesday after being convicted of careless driving causing death and careless driving causing serious injury.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Katie's father Hilary said he and his wife Vivienne didn't realise the severity of the crash as they rushed to the scene.

Quick

"I got a phone call from someone who lives about 20 or 50 yards away from where the crash happened. They said 'You'd better get here quick'," he said.

"They said 'Katie's been involved in an accident' and they hung up. I thought we'd get to Tramore and she'd be sitting on the car with a broken arm and a couple of bruises.

"I tried ringing back to see how bad she was but I wasn't getting an answer. [We] left in her car and her brother Leon left separately in his car.

"We all arrived at the same time. I saw Katie being taken out of the car on a board, through the back window. I took one look at her and I pretty much realised she was gone."

Hilary described the scene of the crash, which also left two young people with life-changing injuries.

"They took Katie into the back of the ambulance," he said.

"For some reason the back door flew open and I could see she was being resuscitated and at that stage, I pretty much knew she was gone.

"[Another girl] suffered so many broken bones I wouldn't know where to start. I remember the screams from her, the pain as she had broken her pelvis, her ribs, her shoulder."

Speaking of the other two victims, he said: "They'll never be the same again."

Hilary and Vivienne described Katie lovingly in their victim impact statement at O'Shea's sentencing on Tuesday.

"She was at the most fantastic stage of her life," Hilary said yesterday. "She was an extremely popular girl, as you can see from her funeral."

The court heard that O'Shea had apologised to the Murphys in a letter submitted before his sentencing, but Hilary said they hadn't heard from him before he appeared in the dock on Tuesday.

"Yes, he said he would change everything if he could but he can't," said Hilary.

"He did give a letter to apologise to the Murphy family, but we hadn't heard one word from him before that.

"There was never a card, a letter, a note or flowers at Christmas or on her birthday. He completely ignored us."

The court heard that O'Shea, who was 17 at the time of the crash, now suffered from survivor's guilt, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"As we all do," Hilary said. "The difference is he's the one who caused it.

Jumped

"A number of witnesses spoke of the terror when they heard the car coming.

"Two of them jumped up and thought, 'Oh my God, there's going to be a crash' and as soon as they got outside the car was against a wall."

Hilary said the family had launched a road safety campaign in Katie's memory - and urged young people worried about a driver's speed to have the courage to demand to get out of the vehicle.

"Have the courage to say, 'Stop and let me out'. Your parents will collect you. No parent wants their child to arrive home in a hearse," he said.

Speaking of their grief, Hilary added: "Ah, it's very tough. It's extremely tough since the court case. We're back to square one."


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