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Daughter calls for prosecution for Mum’s death in Omagh

THE daughter of a pedestrian who was killed in a road collision in Omagh in early 2015 has called for an urgent review of the decision not to prosecute the driver of the car that struck her.
 
Dominika Szaboova travelled more than 1,000 miles from her home in Slovakia this week to give evidence at the inquest into the death of her beloved mother, Eva Csonkova.
 
Speaking at the hearing in Omagh Courthouse yesterday (Wednesday) morning, Mrs Szaboova said that, almost five years later, she still missed her mother.
 
“It’s hard without her,” she said, speaking through an interpreter. 
 
The 58-year-old cleaner, who had only moved to Omagh 18 months beforehand to live with her daughter, had been on her way to pick up her grandson from the Rainbow Nursery when she was struck by a car as she crossed at the pedestrian crossing in James Street at around 3pm on January 7, 2015.
 
Mrs Csonkova was taken to South West Acute Hospital after sustaining a severe head injury, but was pronounced dead the next day.
 
Coroner, Suzanne Anderson, told the hearing that she had “no alternative” but to send a file to the North’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), after accepting the evidence of a forensic scientist who found that the traffic lights were red – or had changed from red to flashing amber – when the collision had occurred.
 
The coroner also accepted the evidence of Pauline McCullagh, another female pedestrian who had crossed the road just ahead of Mrs Csonkova, having first pressed the button and waited for the green man to show.
 
This witness told the inquest that she had just stepped on to the footpath on the other side of the crossing when she heard a “thud” from behind and turned around to see Mrs Csonkova had been hit by a car.
 
But, giving her evidence, the driver of the car maintained that the traffic lights were green as she drove towards the crossing.
 
Legal counsel acting on behalf of the driver said that his client offered her “profound sympathies” to the deceased’s daughter on the sad passing of her mother.
 
Speaking after the Coroner outlined her findings, Adrian O’Kane, the solicitor acting on behalf of the deceased’s family, said that it was “of concern” that the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), in deciding that there should be no prosecution in the case, stated that there was no
evidence from any eyewitnesses to support the offence of careless or dangerous driving.
 
He said, “The finding from the coroner is quite clear that there was evidence from an eyewitness that the pedestrian lights had been activated and that the deceased, Mrs Csonkova, was crossing at the pedestrian crossing as she was safely entitled to do.
 
“Regrettably, the account given by the driver that she also had the benefit of green lights has been clearly shown not to be correct.
 
“The daughter of Mrs Csonkova is now requesting that the Coroner’s direction will be followed and the PPS will review their decision not to prosecute.”

 

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