Hit and run child 'miracle daughter'

Published Tuesday, 24 June 2014
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The mother of a young girl, who sustained life threatening injuries when she was knocked down by a hit and run motorcyclist near her home in Derry last year, has described her only child as "a miracle daughter".

Hit and run child 'miracle daughter'
Little Caoimhe was treated at the Children's Hospital in Belfast. (© Pacemaker)

Tracy McGuinness was speaking after David Gerard McCloskey, 24 and from East Avenue in the Waterside area of the city, was jailed for nine months.

McCloskey was the uninsured and unlicensed motorcyclist who knocked down seven-year-old Caoimhe McGuinness as she crossed the road at Creggan Heights on the evening on 12 June of last year.

She was flipped into the air by the impact of the collision and then thrown a short distance along the road where she lay unconscious.

McCloskey and his pillion passenger were both knocked off the motorcycle. Both went and looked at Caoimhe as she lay on the road.

The pillion passenger stayed but McCloskey remounted the motorcycle and drove away. He was later reported to the police by his passenger.

Caoimhe was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital in an unconscious state and then transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

She had sustained a number of injuries including a fractured skull, a rupture and laceration to her spleen, a suspected laceration of her kidney, fractures to her jaw and to a finger, and lung and cerebral contusions.

She still has a steel plate in her jaw.

McCloskey, who had 22 previous convictions for offences both in Derry and Donegal, initially denied any involvement but later made admissions.

He told the police he drove away from the scene of the accident because he'd panicked. He later tried to set fire to his motorcycle.

Judge Philip Babington said that McCloskey, who apologised to Caoimhe and to her family, had been given ample opportunities by the courts on both sides of the border, but had failed to take advantage of those opportunities.

"His behaviour after the incident was inexcusable as he left Caoimhe lying on the ground in an unconscious state and drove off. I know that he says he panicked but that does not take away from the point," he said.

"In this case the defendant rode the motorcycle without a licence and without insurance and in a way that was totally inappropriate to a pleasant summer evening in a built up area of the city," he added.

Judge Babington also disqualified McCloskey from driving for three years.

Speaking after McCloskey's jailing, Tracy McGuinness said: "Caoimhe made her First Communion just two weeks ago on what was the first anniversary of the accident.

"She is my miracle daughter because when I saw her injuries immediately after the accident and as I watched her in her hospital bed after emergency surgery I did not think she was going to survive.

"What happened last year was a nightmare. Hopefully this sentencing today will make young drivers of motorbikes realise what the consequences could be of driving too fast in built up areas and slow down."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
john in Newtownabbey wrote (214 days ago):
9 months for nearly killing this poor child, what a joke
Marget in CoDown wrote (214 days ago):
He should have been given nine years .after leaving a young child lying on the ground he didn't care weather she was alive or not as long as he was away fair play to the person that named him
ed burns in Belfast wrote (214 days ago):
sentence not nearly long enough.
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